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June 11, 2017 - Our God is an Awesome God

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Scripture Readings

The television show that entertains me during my workouts is The Little Big Shots. Hosted by Steve Harvey, the show is about kids who have unique or extraordinary abilities, and kids who Facebook or Youtube posts have gone viral. Some of these posts have a million or more views. The other day, Steve Harvey asked a three year old if she knew how how many views her post has received. She said, “a hundred.” She had in fact received five million views. When Mr. Harvey told the little girl the real numbers, she was expressionless. She simply could not comprehend the magnitude of that number. She knew it was a lot more than hundred, but she simply could not warp her mind around five million. Let me give you an adult example. There are times when we stand before something marvelous - the Grand Canyon, Mt. Everest, the Niagara Falls - and the sheer awesomeness consumes us. It is as if we get it, but we don’t get it. This is what God is like. When we stand before God, we are like that three-year-old who knew she was dealing with something big, but could not comprehend the magnitude. We get it, but we don’t get it. There is a word for it. It is called mystery! This is what we mean when we say that the Trinity is a mystery. 

Let me offer three points for reflection today:

1. Awesome God. If you noticed, none of the Scripture reading today made a direct reference to the Trinity. That is because the word “Trinity” does not exist in the Bible. It was in all probability first used in the early 3rd Century by Tertullian. However, there are some texts in the Bible that make a clear reference to the Trinity (Matthew 28:19). Today’s readings choose to focus on the kind of God our triune God is. "The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” Today’s gospel reading also has the same emphasis: “God so loved the world, that he his only son….” The point I am trying to make is that we get some things about God. Like the three-year-old, or like us standing in front of something marvelous, with our human abilities, we cannot capture the totality of God’s awesomeness. We may or may not comprehend the mystery of the trinity. However, what we do know is that God is a merciful and gracious God, slow the anger and rich in kindness and fidelity; that God loves the world so much that God gave us Jesus. We know enough about God to carry us through this life.

2. The Sacraments: A Trinitarian Presence! As Catholics, we experience the Trinity everyday. Every time we make the sign of the cross we profess the Trinity. We are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and we are buried with the Trinitarian sign of the cross. Especially in the Eucharist the enter into the deepest communion with the Trinity. At every Eucharist, God sends the Holy Spirit to transform the bread and wine into the real presence of Christ. When we receive Christ, God’s works of salvation becomes a reality within us. For that matter, every sacrament between our birth and death embodies the presence of the Trinity. Through the sacraments, then, we become an inalienable part of the God’s life and God becomes an inseparable part of ours. This is a great mystery. Today, on this feast, let us be grateful to God for inviting us into the divine life.

3. God’s love - Experienced and Lived Out. Today’s second reading is yet another passage that makes a reference to the Trinity. Before I talk about that, let me draw your attention to another point, Paul make. He says to the Corinthians, “…encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Cor 13:11). And Paul ends with the 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). How should we read this? Should we interpret the passage to mean that because the “grace of Jesus, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” (2 Cor 13:13) is with us that we should “encourage one another, agree with another, live in peace?” (2 Cor 13:13). Or does he mean that if we “encourage one another, agree with another, live in peace” (2 Cor 13:13) the grace of Jesus, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” (2 Cor 13:13) will be with us? The answer perhaps is, both. The bottom line is this - that our knowledge of God has implications for us. If we know God as “a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity,” then it means that we encourage one another and live with each other in peace. If God so loves the world, then we must too. 

In and through the mystery of this Eucharist, we are once more about to enter in the life of the Trinity and the Trinity becomes deeply embodied in us! In this communion lies our salvation. 

- Fr. Satish Joseph