The Son’s mission
Did St. Patrick really use a shamrock (three-leafed clover) to teach the Irish Celts about the mystery of the Trinity? Who knows? The earliest historical evidence linking Patrick and the shamrock dates only from the 1600s, 12 centuries after the legendary missionary walked the Auld Sod bringing Christianity to the people.
But it’s a sweet way to visualize the Three-in-One. Jesus Christ, the Son, is one with Father and Spirit, and yet has his own distinct personhood and holy work. Jesus himself explained to his disciples once why he was on earth: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). Only the Son was conceived of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit; only the Son was born fully human; only the Son placed himself under the Law in order to demonstrate perfect obedience on our behalf; only the Son was convicted of the crimes of the human race; only the Son bled out on that horrible cross; only the Son was buried, rose again, and triumphantly returned to heaven.
The glorious result? The Father’s forgiveness and mercy were pronounced on the whole world. Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Mission accomplished: he sought us and he saved us.
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