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May 27, 2018 - The Trinity: It's Like Good Indian Food!

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Scripture Readings

I am a foodie. I often use food to understand spiritual mysteries. I am not the first to do this. For example, Isaiah 25:6 says, “On this mountainthe LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples, a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.” The Bible often uses the imagery of a banquet to describe heaven. After all, the most important event of Jesus life was the Last Supper. Being a foodie, I get it! Jesus also said, “You are the salt of the earth.” I get that too! Today, I would like to use food to understand the Trinity. St. Patrick used the Shamrock the Trinity and Fr. Satish is using food… more specifically Indian cuisine. 

Indian cooking is very complex. The complexity is not only in the use of an extensive range of herbs and spices but also in the cooking process. It all begins with three things: Onion, ginger and garlic, sautéed in wholesome oil. And then come in a variety of spices and herbs. The bottom line is this – good Indian cooking is the careful blending of ALL the ingredients. The final product tastes nothing like any of the ingredients. They all come together to create something uniquely new. If any one ingredient stands out… then it really is not good Indian cooking. Reversely, take even one of the many ingredients away, and the dish will taste very different. The Trinity is like a good Indian dish. Three persons (three persons), one God (dish). Three persons, and ALL three, blend equally and perfectly to create one God. Take one of them away and the reality itself changes. The entire salvation history is about the Father, Son, and Spirit blending ever so beautifully to bring about the salvation of the world. The Fathers sends the Son, the Son carries out the Father’s plan, the Father send the Holy Spirit on the Son, the Son is both open to the Spirt and finds strength in the Spirit, and finally, having accomplished that for which the Father, sent Jesus, he returns to the Father. Consequently, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit on his followers so that we too can die with Christ and rise with him at our baptism and in this way, become the adopted children of the Father in Christ. Yes, all this sounds like the makings of a good Indian curry.   

Practical Implications:  

1)  Blending with the Trinity. For us Catholics the Trinity is at the core of our personal and communal life. We begin everything and end everything “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Our life, our Christian life, our day and our night, our waking and our sleeping, our worship and our prayer, our work and our leisure – we begin and end in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Our bodies and the ones we love, our health and our illness, our life and our death, our homes and all we possess, we mark it with the sign of the Trinity.  We do this because we believe that God is Trinity. However, we also do this because by our baptism we are invited to blend our lives with the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Our lives must mingle so well with the Trinity, that it all tastes like a good Indian cuisine.  

2) The Trinitarian Lifestyle. Blending with the Trinity means that we live a flavorful life. Our life must taste like the trinity. Very rarely, I go to an Indian restaurant and order and dish. I am always frustrated. Because it really is not Indian food. It is American-Indian food. Sometimes you meet a Christian and he or she does not taste like a Christian. He or she does not taste Trinitarian. The selflessness of the Trinitarian life is missing of the self-giving is missing, or the love is missing, or the compassion is missing, or the mercy is missing, or the peace is missing, or the commitment and fidelity to one another is missing, or the generosity and kindness is missing. It’s like there is no salt or it is too spicy hot. There is too much anger, hate, and prejudice; there is too much judgement, condemnation and self-righteousness; there is too much rejection, lust, greed, pride, and enmity. A Christian’s life should not be like a spicy-hot curry that is also burnt. A Christian’s life should have the beautiful flavor of the Trinitarian life.  

3) Trinitarian Implications for the Family, Parish, and Society. A mother called me the other day in tears. She said to me that her son was slowly pulling himself away from the family. Whatever the reason, she was weeping because she knows that that is not how they raised him. They gave him love, security and a good home. Her heart aches because she gave it her all… like God. What she hoped in return was love, affection, and unity. In reality, every family and every parish should mirror the Trinitarian life.  Every person in the family has to play their part and blend in like the spices and herbs in a good Indian dish. You and I know that happens when even one member does not blend in. It is sad, but the family loses its flavor. This is true also of the parish. They say, only about 26 percent of Catholics think that it is necessary to participate in mass every Sunday. I think this is because Catholics do not think of a parish as a Trinitarian entity. If we are able and refuse to participate, we deny the parish, flavor that only we can bring. Our families and our parish must be an extension of the Most Holy Trinity.

As a foodie, I get the Eucharist. It is a meal! This Eucharist would not be possible without the Trinity. The Father sends the Holy Spirit to transform our bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. As we receive Christ we are invited to blend in. Our lives must look like a good Indian curry or our lives must blend in with the Trinity. 

- Fr. Satish Joseph