Trinity Sunday, “The Traffic Light”

stoplight. vectorThroughout our early education, we’re told that the light remains green for us all to fulfill all of our dreams. Some teachers may have mentioned those yellow or red colors. We didn’t hear that because our focus was only “green” paving our future.

We were also taught we live between cause and effect. Do a job well, and a promotion surely awaits you. Avoid this problem, and a new avenue opens up your ride. When the effect doesn’t happen, we simply blame the cause. Different cause then a different effect. Simple.

Traffic’s yellow lights means pause and caution? For others folks, but not for us! (You’ve got to be kidding.) In Milwaukee, yellow now means to move faster. Who needs caution when you’re between green and red colors. In my town, yellow now means a mere suggestion, as though the yellow says to you, “Sir or ma’am, you may wish to consider in the next one half-second to stop and wait…or not!” The top color of our three colors is red. I guess it’s placed there to tell us something we don’t want to see or do. Red means stop. It means go no further allowing others to pass.

Hope in “tomorrow”

John Lennon sang, “He blew his mind out in his car, he didn’t notice that the light had changed.” That guy lost his surprising yet vague word, “tomorrow.” That’s a loss of hope, a virtue that is so easily misplaced, forgotten or completely lost. Hope in yourself is the primary task which leads to your enkindling and encouraging hope and promise in others. That’s how those bothersome traffic lights work. That’s why they were installed at intersections.

Alright. It’s “Trinity Sunday.” “Three persons in One God.” Three clearly glowing lights for all of life’s intersections. I guess you know where I’m going with this. Not limited to but for the sake of illustration – God is red, Jesus is green, and the Holy Spirit is yellow. Three colors along with three very important persons at each of our life’s intersections.

The red of God is the immobile and stable presence of the Almighty. In some religions, just saying His name was considered blasphemous. The green is obviously Jesus because he’s always telling us to “keep going.” Go make disciples, turn water into wine through your gifts and talents, keep that lamp proudly burning for all to see, be a mustard seed and keep growing, prune yourself of sin every chance you get and how many more examples from the Green Guy.

The Spirit will pest us like a housefly…

That leaves the best of our colors for last. The yellow of the Holy Spirit is always the decision time. The Spirit has a great job of freely moving all around us and inside us. Testing that, thinking about this – with a keen eye for surprising, overestimating and challenging us. That’s what pausing produces. I said last week on Pentecost that the Spirit is the most patient of all three lights. The Spirit will pest us like a housefly until we take a deep breath and pause from whatever has either stopped us or made us run around in circles. Red is the steadiness of life in our resolve and commitment, green is doing something with what the red created us to do which makes you and this world a better place to live. Yellow? It’s that daring inspiration, and peaceful fulfillment of life’s green and red.

Our personal integrity is made stronger through life’s reds and yellows.

Our lives are full of intersections. The road not taken, (“I should have turned left!”), that unmade choice (“Wrong turn and now I’m lost!”), those right decisions (“I see it. It’s straight ahead on the right!”). Carefully heed each color because each has continuous lessons to be learned and pass on to your children. Red alerts us that hope is fragile. Yellow shows us how to think and pray a little slower, with more feeling. Green’s a breeze because the traffic flows back and forth with fewer lessons to be learned; from one green light to the next. The definition of our lives is rarely found in green. Our personal integrity is made stronger through life’s reds and yellows.

So enjoy your life’s ride with attention. Be watchful and vigilant because the light can change at any moment, but it will always show us a helpful and listening person of our beautiful Trinity.

And if you’re colorblind, you might consider walking. The Trinity will walk with you.

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.
All available in paperback or Kindle on
“Letters From My Cats,”

a collection of humorous and reflective letters written by my cats over twenty years
“Soulful Muse,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons of
Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter – a great seasonal gift
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture

“Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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