Read Exodus 34:4-6,8-9, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13, John 3:16-18
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:13)
What is the most extraordinary love story ever told? It is the story of God’s love for humanity, which began at the dawn of creation. In creating us, God revealed Himself as our Father. Having made us in love, we failed to reciprocate this love, yet God never gave up on us. For instance, in today’s First Reading, the people of Israel apostatised. God was angry, but He listened to Moses’s pleading, proving Himself a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
After this episode, humans continued to behave as stiff-necked people, choosing evil over good and worshipping material things instead of God. Nevertheless, God did not give up on us. At the fullness of time, God took our human flesh to live and die for our sake. In doing this, God revealed Himself to us as Father, and at the same time, as Son.
Over the last couple of weeks, our liturgy has celebrated how God in the person of Christ Jesus was born, began his public ministry, suffered, died and rose on the third day. While humanity was having trouble figuring out how God is both Father and Son simultaneously (which is one of the reasons the Jews killed Jesus), again, out of His love for us, revealed Himself once more as Holy Spirit.
Today, we are trying to put everything together; to sum up our understanding of God, who has gradually revealed Himself to humanity, first as Father, then as Son and finally, as Holy Spirit. In straightforward language, today, we celebrate God’s love for us, which moved Him to create us, take our flesh, and remain forever with us. This brings us to our lessons for today:
1. God is Trinity
How is God both Father, Son and Holy Spirit simultaneously? This question is so complicated that we can only offer examples to explain. One example is that of a grown-up man, let’s say, Mr A. To his children, Mr A is a father. Mr A is a brother to his siblings, and to his parents, Mr A is a son. Mr A is one person but different things to different people. Even though this example gives us some idea, it is still a terrible example because while God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit simultaneously, Mr A cannot be both father, son and brother to any human being.
We cannot fully understand God because our human mind can only understand things by breaking them into separate units, yet God cannot be broken down. God is one. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Although God revealed Himself to us gradually, He has always been Trinity. God spoke in plural at creation: “Let us make man….” At the Annunciation, the Angel Gabriel assured Mary that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her, meaning there is an essential unity in the Trinity.
2. The Trinity Reflects God’s Love for Us
We only speak of God as Trinity because God attempts to show us the depths of His love for us. If God had not come to be born among us out of love, we would not know that God is Son, and if He had no desire to remain with us forever, we would not know that God is Holy Spirit. So don’t try to understand God; instead, ponder His Love for you. God loves you so much that He will do anything for you.
Only God can love you this way. Only God can afford to humiliate Himself to take your human nature and die such a pitiable death, offering Himself as a sacrifice for your salvation. Only God can love you so much as to be so close to you that you only need to breathe to feel His presence around you. Who else can do this for you? What love can ever be more significant than this? What stops you from returning this love?
3. Because He Loves Us, God Does Not Force Us
God has done everything needed to be done for our salvation. Jesus said to Nicodemus. “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). In his love for us, God does not force us to love Him back. Any love where the person lacks freedom is imprisonment. If you love someone, you must give the person the freedom to either love you back or reject you. Hence, Jesus added: “He who believes in Him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already.”
God does not condemn us; instead, we condemn ourselves by our choices – by our rejection. Our first reading today teaches us one important lesson – God give us a second chance when we repent. God told Moses to cut two new stone tablets like the former ones. God’s ability to forgive us is the greatest testament to His love for us. If you cannot ignore a person, it is a sign that you never loved the person in the first place. If there were ever loved, you would forgive because love takes no record of evil; love never ends (Cf. 1 Corinthians 13:4-9)
4. God is Love
St. Paul, in today’s second reading, gives us an excellent theological exposition of the Trinity when he said, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2nd Corinthians 13:14) This verse is more than a greeting; it is our Credo. Jesus, God the Son, is described in terms of GRACE, God the Father is described in terms of LOVE, and God the Spirit is described in terms of FELLOWSHIP.
The three persons in one God reflects perfect unity and perfect love. God the Father so loves God the Son that there is a fellowship (communion) between them. This fellowship or expression of love is the Holy Spirit. Just as there is a fellowship in the Trinity, God desires that there is a fellowship amongst us. Therefore, we who worship God ought to reflect God in our lives by loving our neighbours and being united rather than racial or ethnic, or divisive.
As we celebrate the Trinity, let us think of our oneness as humans, we all came from one God and are all related to each other. If we trace our family origins, we will discover we are more united than we often assume. St. Paul says, “Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.”
Let us pray: Almighty Ever-Living God, open my eyes to the depths of your love and help me to extend this love to others. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (The Most Holy Trinity – Solemnity, Bible Study: Exodus 34:4-6,8-9, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13, John 3:16-18)
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu