Readings: Exodus34:4-6,8-9; 2Cor. 13:11-13; John 3:16-18.
We Are at Our Best When We Are in Love
1. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. We worship God who manifested himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit - three Persons in one God: God the Father, Creator of the world, God the Son, Savior of the world and God the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier of the world. In the Preface of the Trinity, we praise God in these words: “We joyfully proclaim our faith in the mystery of your Godhead. You have revealed your glory as the glory also of your Son and of the Holy Spirit: three Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God, ever to be adored in your everlasting glory.” In the Trinity, we experience unity of purpose and expression of love. Therefore, we worship a God who is in a relationship, and who invites us to enter into a relationship with Him. Hence, we are at our best when we are in relationship with others: God, friends, children, parents, co-workers, colleagues, etc., etc. No man is an island.
2. We begin every prayer by calling on God the Father, the Son and the Spirit to dwell in us and to help us live good and saintly lives. We were baptized into the life of Grace through the invocation of the Trinity and on the day of our funeral and burial, our coffin and grave will be blessed by the sign of the Cross and the invocation of the Trinity. The life of every Christian is marked by the Triune God dwelling in and through us. The Trinity is a mystery that presents us with a God of closeness, communion and intimacy. Our God desires community, communication and love within the Persons of the Trinity and with each and every one of us. “This is an initiating God, an outgoing God, a creative, life-giving God who stamps his communal life on us. We are in relationship because God is, we are made in his image and likeness.” (William J. Bausch). There is absolute love, respect and understanding within the Persons of the Trinity.
3. Since we are at our best when we are in a loving relationship, we are also at our worse when we fall out of love, out of a relationship. The worse pain of our time is loneliness. That is why imprisonment is a terrible form of punishment. When prisoners behave badly, they are put in solitary confinement. Not having someone to talk to and relate with is as an awful experience. Many of our elderly ones often feel lonely when their children and friends do not visit them in nursing homes. Also, those who have gone through divorce know the painful feeling of a failed relationship, however it happened. They often feel alienated. And so, there is always a need for forgiveness and reconciliation so as to move on.
4. The first reading from the Book of Exodus emphasizes the significance of the Triune God for us. The face of the Father is turned towards His children despite their sins. He renewed the tablets of the Law broken by Moses and showed them his mercy. He revealed His name, “The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” These are the attributes of the Triune God. God is merciful, implying compassion, and tenderness – the heart of the Father moved by unmerited love. He is gracious - the favor or benevolence of one who has gifts to give and wills to give them. His kindness is the love that marks the covenant bond between Him and His children. And Finally, God’s fidelity connotes rock-likeness, constancy, the inability to be turned from the will to love. This is our God. He knows anger because of sin and permits Moses to express his anger by breaking the tablets of the law brought down from Mount Sinai; but in the end, God wants only merciful and faithful love to be known. This is the true heart of God. And the Gospel tells us how far God can go to reveal His true nature. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. In giving his Son, God the Father also gave himself, because the Father and the Son are in perfect communion and the Holy Spirit is the expression of the Father and the Son. St Paul shows us, in the second reading, that these attributes are really those of one God, and so of all three Persons. You are to “Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” Hence, the love from God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ and the Spirit will bring us together in fellowship and union.
5. So, how do we relate to the Trinity? We must, first of all, acknowledge the indwelling of the Trinity in our lives. Then we must develop an intimate and personal relationship with the Persons of the Trinity. This means having a personal relationship with the First Person of the Trinity. God is our Father who created us “To know, to love and to serve God in this world, and to be happy with God forever in the next.” The end of our human existence is to be in relationship with a God who made us in His image. He created us and sustains us in being therefore, we must have a personal devotion to God the Father. When we pray the Lord’s prayer, for instance, we address God the Father, directly. The more reason we should pray the Our Father with devotion, while reflecting and paying attention to the words of the prayer.
6. We should also develop and inculcate an intimate relationship with the second Person of the Trinity. Jesus is the Savior of the world. He redeemed us with his precious blood. ‘The Anima Christi’, ‘Jesus I love You’, O Sacrament most Holy’ and other prayers besides, direct our minds to the Second Person of the Trinity.
7. It may not be easy to have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit because we don’t often feel that the Spirit is a person. The Church has many prayers that can help us develop a loving relationship with the Spirit: ‘Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful’, ‘Prayer for the seven gifts of the Spirit, etc., etc., Finally, it is important to know that all prayers are directed to God the Father, through the Son and in the Spirit. Praying to God and God alone is far more important than to which Person of the Trinity we address our prayers. That is why, ‘The Sign of the Cross, the Gloria, and the Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, are traditional prayers that address the Three Persons of the Trinity directly.
8. Let us pray that we may demonstrate the love of the Trinity in the way we relate in our families, in our society and in our nation. May the Trinity teach leaders of nations to love and protect the citizens they promised to govern in mutual respect. May men and women in uniform respect the dignity of every human person, irrespective of the color of their skins. And let there be tolerance and peace among people and nations of the world. Amen.
Rev. Augustine Etemma Inwang, MSP