June 17, 2011

Feast of the Most Holy Trinity / Msgr. Owen F. Campion

The Sunday Readings

Msgr. Owen CampionThis weekend, the Church celebrates the feast of the Most Holy Trinity.

“The Trinity” is the theological term to describe the most intimate detail of the reality of God.

In the first reading, from the Book of Exodus, the Church begins its lesson for us today by reminding us about God and also about ourselves as God’s creatures.

For Jews, the Exodus, or flight from slavery in Egypt, was the most defining moment in their long history as a people.

After wandering across the forbidding Sinai Peninsula, they not only survived but eventually found a land of prosperity, peace and security. It was a difficult trip, to say the least.

Without God’s mercy, the Hebrews would not have been able to complete this arduous journey. He guided them because he loved them.

The first reading reports another important aspect of life on this journey. Communication occurred between God and the people through Moses.

Divine love continues and allows us to communicate with God. God reaches out to us. God listens to us.

For the second reading, the Church presents St. Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians.

The Christians of Corinth quarreled and plotted among themselves. They sinned. Considering their surroundings, it is not difficult to realize why they so often were wayward.

Corinth was known throughout the Mediterranean world of the first century A.D. as a virtual cesspool of vice and licentiousness, the site of greed and selfishness.

The Apostle Paul urged the Christian Corinthians to rely on Jesus, and the strength given through and in Jesus of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, the Church presents a reading from St. John’s Gospel about the Lord instructing Nicodemus, an important figure in Jewish life in Jerusalem.

Jesus explains that the Messiah’s words are not just the opinions of a mere mortal. The Messiah is from God. The Son is one with the Father. To hear the Son is to hear the Father.

Jesus tells Nicodemus that the Father sent the Son into the world of space and time to be with the people and to redeem humanity.

Eternal life awaits the faithful. God is merciful and forgiving. God loves humankind. Despite all their sins and weaknesses, God loves humans and wills that they live forever.

Jesus is the perfect intermediary between God and humanity. One of us in the Incarnation, Jesus came to the world as the very personification of God’s love.

Reflection

Using the phrase “Holy Trinity” does not customarily bring Catholics to an emotional response in their religious experience. Yet, frankly, it should evoke considerable emotion among any people who count themselves as disciples of Christ.

First, the term tells us of God’s immense love for us. The Holy Trinity, while not unreasonable in the philosophical sense, never would have been known by mere humans as the result of their deduction alone.

The Trinity was revealed to us by the Lord so that we might understand in human terms the most intimate aspect of the life of God.

Secondly, so much of Catholic teaching rests on the belief that God has created every human in the divine image and likeness. We indeed are a reflection of God’s image and likeness.

As such, we are out of kilter if we fail to love God. We are not in accord with our nature, our ultimate DNA, if we set ourselves apart from the human community and certainly if we do not love others.

All three readings for this feast bear in common the message that God loves us.

Long ago, the great theologians saw love as the essence of divine life. It is the kernel of the life of the Trinity. This feast calls us to realize that love is of God. †

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