Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9; 2 Cor. 13:11-13; John 3:16-18
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” (2 Cor.13:13)
Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Holy Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity, which is difficult to understand, describes the unique way we experience God’s presence in our lives. Saint Augustine, commenting that the doctrine of the Trinity is both mysterious and dangerous, once said, “If you deny the Trinity, you will lose your soul; if you try to explain it, you will lose your mind.”Saint Thomas Aquinas reminds us that “God is beyond knowing”.
The readings from today’s liturgy do not attempt to explain the doctrine of the Trinity as we have come to know and understand it. Rather, the readings focus on the loving nature of God and invite us to celebrate God as the source of all that is good. They challenge us to appreciate the beauty and relational essence that is basic to our understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine does not try to explain the mystery of the triune God but to acknowledge the nature of the God we worship and how we experience God at work in our lives and in the world.. This is the God who comes to us as creator, redeemer and sanctifier and calls us to live in this world with Him as co-creators, co-redeemers, and sustainers. How relevant and challenging is this call in our current day when there is such great controversy over the United States pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord. As Pope Francis tells us we have a moral responsibility to care for “our common home” and we can no longer justify the reckless behavior that is destroying our earth for future generations. What greater dignity could be entrusted to us by our triune God than to live in this world with our brothers and sisters as co-creators, co-redeemers and sustainers.
Today we celebrate the mystery of God who is revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We celebrate the mystery of an ever-present God who surrounds us and permeates every aspect of our lives. This is the message in the first reading from Exodus where God initiates an encounter with Moses and reveals his divine nature. Moses requests that God stay with the Israelites on their journey; God’ agrees and His presence is marked by the “pillar of cloud” which precedes the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness.
In the second reading in today's liturgy, an excerpt from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, Paul presents perhaps the strongest statement about the triune God that is found in the New Testament. In his closing words, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor.13:13), Paul states that his experience of God is rooted in the grace of Christ through which he was converted and summarizes his Christian experience of God as one of grace, love and fellowship. While we can never fully comprehend God, Saint Augustine tells us that only when we find love that we experience the mystery of God whose love creates us, surrounds us and sustains us in all that we do and all that we are.
Sister Mary T. Flood, O.P.