Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Little Something Extra...The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Who Is God?

On this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, our Scripture readings help us answer, at least in part, one of the most fundamental and important questions we can ever ask: “Who is God?” We can never know completely, of course, for God is far beyond our limited human minds and weak human concepts. But God does reveal Himself to us, and if we pay close attention and pray, we can get to know Him and strengthen our relationship with Him.

Let's see, then, what today's readings have to say about Who God is.

1. God has a name. He proclaims it to Moses in the First Reading. This seems self-evident and rather unimportant, but in revealing His name, God is creating intimacy with human beings. He is allowing Himself to be known. In the Bible, a name is not simply an identifying word; it refers to one's character. Although the translators have chosen not to use God's name here, instead following the Israelite custom of substituting “Lord,” the name pronounced in the Hebrew is “Yahweh,” or “I am.” God is being. He exists in Himself without ever having been created by anyone or anything else. The rest of us are creatures. He is the eternal Creator.

2. God also describes several of His characteristics to Moses. He is merciful and gracious. He is “slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” Our God is a compassionate God. He treats His people with great kindness and love, and He keeps the promises, the covenant, He has made with us. His anger does not flare up quickly even when we deserve it. He is always ready to reach out to repentant hearts with forgiveness and grace.

3. God deserves reverent worship. Moses bows down to the ground in awestruck wonder as he stands before God.

4. Moses also understands, however, that he can make requests to God, Who always hears him. Moses asks God to come along with the Israelites on their journey, to pardon their sins, and to make them His own. Our reading does not tell us God's response, but we know that it was and is a firm and continual “Yes!”

5. The Responsorial Psalm, as usual, invites us to respond to the First Reading, and in this case, we do so with an outpouring of praise. We recognize that God is the God of our fathers. We come from a long line of believers, who have passed our faith on to us. This is part of God's plan. He has lovingly given us the community of the Church.

6. We also declare with joy that God is worthy of all our praise and that His name (the one He revealed to Moses) is holy and glorious. God is exalted on high, so far above us that our minds fall short whenever we try to contemplate His glory. His sits on the throne of His kingdom, ruling over the whole universe, over everything that has ever existed, exists now, and will ever exist. Yet, God also looks down upon us even from His great height. He looks down with love beyond all telling. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He is closer to us than our very breath.

7. In the Second Reading, from the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, we learn that God is “the God of love and peace.” God loves us with a love greater than we can ever know or understand, and He gives us His peace if we open our hearts to receive it. In Greek the word for peace is eirēnē, and it refers not just to a state of calmness or tranquility or safety (although that is certainly part of the picture) but also to wholeness. When we accept the peace that God offers, we are whole. All our pieces are joined together in harmony, and we are at rest in God.

8. Paul also gives us a peak into God's nature as Trinity when he blesses his readers with “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” God the Father pours out His love through His only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, which is that Love in person, brings us into communion with the Father and the Son.

9. Today's Gospel contains one of the best-known Bible verses of all time: John 3:16 - “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 the Father did not hesitate to give up, to sacrifice, His only-begotten Son so that those who have faith might live with Him eternally. What's more, the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, did not hesitate to give up Himself, to sacrifice Himself, so that those who have faith might live with Him eternally. Now that is love!

10. God, the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, wants to save the world. He doesn't want anyone to perish. He doesn't want anyone to be separated from Him for all eternity or even for an instant. He longs for us to turn to Him, to believe in Him, to love Him, to give ourselves to Him. On this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, reach out to God, embrace the mystery of the Three-in-One, and give Him your heart, your mind, your soul, your spirit, your whole being. He will give you Himself in return.

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