June 9, 2017

The Most Holy Trinity / Msgr. Owen F. Campion

The Sunday Readings

Msgr. Owen CampionThe Church celebrates Trinity Sunday this weekend. The Trinity is the theological term used throughout much of Church history 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 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 completed this journey. He guided them because he loved them.

The first reading reports another important aspect of life on this journey. Communication existed between God and the people through Moses. Divine love continues, allowing us to communicate with God. God reaches out to us. He listens to us.

For the second reading, the Church presents a passage from 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 first-century Mediterranean world as a virtual cesspool of vice and licentiousness, brimming with greed and selfishness.

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 from St. John’s Gospel the story of the Lord’s 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. Therefore, to hear the Son is to hear the Father.

Jesus tells Nicodemus that the Father sent the Son into the created world to be with and redeem humanity.

Eternal life awaits the faithful. God is merciful and forgiving. He loves humanity. 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 with us in the incarnation, Jesus came as the very personification of God’s love.

Reflection

Catholics believe in what the phrase “Holy Trinity” defines, but it does not evoke a sense of what so powerfully it expresses. It is hardly just a theological phrase. It reveals God.

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. It had to be revealed. The Lord revealed the Trinity to us, 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 all humans in his image and likeness. This is more than the matter of nice words. We indeed are made in 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 spiritual 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 see that love is of God. †

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