Sunday, June 19, 2011

Reflections on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

As I was going through the readings for today's Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, I was struck by how much they tell us about God. Our God will always remain a mystery beyond our understanding, but He graciously condescends to reveal Himself to us in ways we can grasp, at least a little.

In today's first reading from Exodus, Moses is meeting with God on Mount Sinai after the Golden Calf incident during which the Israelites “exchanged their glorious God for the image of a grass-eating bull” (Psalm 106:20). Needless to say, God was not at all pleased with this turn of events, but He allowed Moses to plead with Him for the people (training Moses' heart to love more deeply in the process). He punished the people for their idolatry but remained with them as their God. In our portion of the story, God, after having taken pity on the Israelites, declares His great Name to Moses and announces that He is “a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” And indeed He is. He could have destroyed the idolatrous bunch on the spot, but instead He mercifully gave them chance after chance after chance. No matter how many times the Israelites sinned and repented, God forgave them and brought them blessings. He was always faithful, even when they were anything but. He does the same for each of us. Every time we repent of our sin, God forgives us. He shows Himself to be merciful and gracious, kind and faithful. He punishes us by allowing us to feel the consequences of our sinful actions, just like He did with the Israelites, but He always gives us another chance and remains our loving God.

The responsorial psalm, which is actually a selection from the Book of Daniel, reminds us several times that our God is “praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.” God is worthy of all our adoration. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, all-beautiful, all-wise, all-merciful, all-just, all-holy, all-everything. Our response can only be that of awestruck praise and worship for the God Who sits on His “throne upon the cherubim.”

St. Paul, in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, assures us that when we mend our ways and live in peace with others, “the God of love and peace” will be with us. God is always the God of love and peace, even when we are at our worst, but when we open our hearts to Him and make a serious effort to follow His command to love Him and love our neighbor, He will pour His grace out upon us, and we will feel His presence and be able to enter into an intimate, personal relationship with Him.

Today's Gospel, John 3:16-18, further emphasizes God's great love for us. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” God wants us with Him for eternity. He desires our company and our love so much that He made the ultimate sacrifice. The Son, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, became man, suffered, died, and rose again in order to show God's great love for us and to open the gates of Heaven for us. We all know this. We have been taught these truths since we were small children, but have we ever stopped to really think about them? To reflect deeply on how much God loves us?

As the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity draws to a close, spend a few minutes in prayer, thanking God for being Who He is, Three in One and One in Three, but also merciful, gracious, kind, faithful, forgiving, awesome, and filled with more love than we can ever really understand.

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