One of the more interesting films of the past 20 years or so — Tom Hanks’ “Castaway” (2000, directed by Robert Zemeckis) — was the story of a man, Chuck Nolan, whose Federal Express freight airplane crashed on a desert island. Hanks’ character was on an airplane that was carrying almost everything one would need to survive. And survive he does, learning how to cook, to clean, to build a shelter, and even in one particularly brutal scene, to perform minor dental surgery.
He has shelter, food, air, and clean water — seemingly everything that one could need to survive. Everything, that is, except for company.
In one of the more interesting parts of this movie, there is complete silence, no dialogue whatsoever in the second act of the film. Chuck is just trying to survive. Yet, he is longing for someone to dialogue. He needs companionship. So, if there is no one there with whom to talk, what can one do? Well, in the case of this character, he meets Wilson.
Wilson functions as the “Man Friday” to Chuck’s Caruso, with one telling exception: Wilson is a volleyball!
Granted, Wilson is a volleyball with a bloody handprint for his face. And the character played by Hanks forms, in this film, a relationship with Wilson. They even have arguments, at least in the lead character’s head, leading to one of the more heartbreaking scenes in this movie — while on a raft at sea during an attempt to escape, Wilson the volleyball floats away. When the main character notices this, it is too late, leaving him to shout: “Wilson, come back, I’m sorry!”
Why mention this older film in the time immediately before we celebrate Trinity Sunday? For one reason — we can have all of the necessities of life and still not have what we need to be fully human. We need a community! This time of quarantine because of COVID-19 reminds us of this most especially!
Why do we, as human beings, need community? Because Almighty God in Himself is a Communion of Three Persons, yet One Godhead. You might say that being in communion with others is built into who we are as human beings, created by God in his image and likeness. We are called to communion because God is a Communion! The Most Blessed Trinity is a mystery. We can never fully comprehend the Godhead.
However, in our daily lives, we experience the working of the Persons of the Most Blessed Trinity time and again. Existing from all eternity, God is. He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit … one God, three Persons, equal in power, equal in majesty. We are called to a life of communion with the Most Blessed Trinity. We desire that companionship with each other and we find it in the Church.
The doctrine of the Most Blessed Trinity is not an abstraction! It is one of the most practical in all of our faith. Even if we have the necessities of life, we still need communion — both with God, who is a Communion of love in Himself and with each other.