What’s the most you would you be willing to do for a friend? Would you offer him a ride to the airport at 4:30 in the morning – without hoping he would decline the offer? I’ll bet you would if he’d learned that his child had been badly injured in an accident in another city. If your friend said she needed to borrow your car, would you hand her the keys, no questions asked? If necessary, would you hand her your credit card, or write her a blank check? Would you stand by a friend who had been disgraced at the risk of your own reputation? Would you spend hours by a sick friend’s hospital bed? Would you offer him bone marrow or a kidney? Would you sacrifice your life for a friend? Despite our human frailty and sinfulness, any of us would do a great deal for a friend, even though we know from painful experience that friends can let us down.
We are God’s friends. God is your friend. Jesus has told us so: “I no longer call you servants, but friends.” (John 15:15) What would God do for a friend? Try to call to mind the feeling that makes you want to trust a friend, to be generous to a friend, to sacrifice for a friend. Now imagine those feelings stripped of all human limitations – free of sin and fear and the limits of our imagination. That might give us a hint of what it’s like to be God’s friend. God is the perfect friend, who would never fail us. The God we know in Jesus Christ would give anything, everything, for a friend – and is giving you and me everything right now.
Our Gospel lays it out for us. Jesus says, “Everything the Father has is mine…he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” So, everything the Father has is given to us. And everything the Father has is – well – everything! God has already lived and died for us in Christ. The Father gives us the Body and Blood of his Son in the Eucharist. And if all this were not enough, the very love of the God who is Love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Call to mind the greatest human love you have known – the love of a spouse or a parent or a child, perhaps. Would you share that with a friend? Does the question even make sense in human terms? Yet God shares the Holy Spirit, who is the perfect love between the Father and the Son, with us. That perfect love, the love that creates and sustains our universe, is offered to us to share, now and in eternal life. Even God could offer us no more. There is nothing left to give. This is the fathomless mystery we celebrate in the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. And we try to live every day in a way worthy of the mystery, by looking after one another. After all, the person sitting next to you has important friends.”
Rev. Charles B. Gordon, C.S.C., is co-director of the Garaventa Center for Catholic Intellectual Life and American Culture at the University of Portland. He writes and records a regular blog called “Fractio Verbi.