Trinity Sunday – Year A.
Commentary Theme for this Sunday:
“In What Kind Of God Do You Believe?”
All three readings today teach us something about the nature of God.
The first tells us that the biblical God is quite different from the god of the pagans or the god worshipped by other religions: he does not get angry, is not wilful, does not punish people and is not spying on us.
The second reading teaches us that God is a family, the ‘Body of Christ’, a family open to all people.
The Gospel tells us that he has not moved away from us, but has joined his life to that of the world and that of humankind. He is not a God who lives far away in heaven and who terrifies his faithful.
Judgment in the Gospel of John is not reserved for after death. It happens now as a result of our belief or our unbelief in Jesus and in the choices we make.
It is recommended that the actual readings are first studied and then meditated upon with a prayer to the Holy Spirit to grant you the gift of ‘wisdom’ to understand the meaning of the messages of Love, Forgiveness and the Offer of Salvation that the Lord has for each one of us in the Holy Bible.
These commentaries, which have been extracted and summarised for our meditation are from the published works of priests who have by their Divine inspiration become acclaimed scholars of the Scriptures and generally reflect the Church’s understanding of the readings.
These commentaries are not meant to replace the Sunday Homily at Holy Mass but are provided as an additional guide to assist and further enhance our understanding of the Sunday Liturgical Readings.
‘Daily Reflections’ and a Prayer are included to enable us to ‘Live the Word’ during the week following the Sunday Mass. We will begin to understand the meaning of gratuitous love and our life’s true purpose. Through His Word we will follow the Light to help fulfil the mission that has been given to each one of us by our Creator.
“In the Old Testament the ‘New’ is hidden.
In the New Testament the ‘Old’ is laid open”.
Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9.
The readings of today are meant to help us purify our hearts from false ideas and images of God. The Christian God is not a lonely being or entity, he is a family. Why did God reveal himself to be Trinity? Certainly not to cause problems to our minds with a concept that in our finite wisdom we cannot fully understand but which we are bound to hold as true. If he spoke of himself and of his life, he did it to make us aware of the gift he is giving us, to introduce us into his loving family.
The first reading tells of Moses’ second ascent to Mt Sinai. He met God there once before when he received the former tablets containing the ‘Ten Commandments’, which Moses in his wrath broke, when coming down from the mountain, he found the people of Israel worshipping a golden calf. That is why he ascended Mt Sinai for a second time – to plead with God for his guilty people. What kind of reception does Moses get, a God raging at the sin of the people’s flagrant idolatry? Far from it! God proclaims: “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Encouraged by these words, Moses pleads that the people be forgiven.
Moses was a rare mortal who actually stood in the presence of God and saw the glory of the Divine and lived. Whatever it was that Moses was privileged to see, it had also altered his appearance. Divine brightness shone from him after being in God’s presence to such an extent that people had to cover his face with a veil. Moses glimpsed the mystery of God; therefore his story is critical to the self-understanding of the Hebrews, and is of great value to us. God now reveals to Moses a completely different face: he is not one who threatens or frightens people, he is not a ‘demanding Supreme Being’ full of whims that makes us tremble in fear and anxiety. He is a Father who looks at his children with tenderness, understands their mistakes and faults and loves them even when they sin.
Responsorial Psalm: Daniel 3:29-34.
Instead of a Psalm, there are verses from the Book of Daniel which express the majesty and glory of God. The verses we use in today’s Mass are a ‘blessing prayer’ which celebrates the uniqueness of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Each verse begins with ‘Blessed are you, O Lord, God of our fathers. God is praised and blessed for his holy name and his abiding presence in the Holy Temple. It is all summed up in our response: ‘You are to be praised and highly exalted forever’.
2 Corinthians 13:11-13.
In the second reading we find the most beautiful of Paul’s concluding blessings, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” He describes the Trinity in a way that corresponds to the Church’s later understanding. He gives a specific function to each person. To Jesus Christ, he attributes Grace. He loved us and gave himself as a free gift (Gal 2:20; Rom 3:23). To the Father, he attributes love. The love of God was poured into our hearts (Rom 5:5). To the Holy Spirit, he attributes fellowship, to understand actively and passively.
Through his gifts, he binds together the ‘Body of Christ’ (1 Cor 12:7) and this in turn ensures union of the Christian with the Spirit, since the Spirit dwells in the believer (Rom 8:11). Paul is exhorting the Corinthians to all kinds of virtues, which they so conspicuously lack, notably their complete inability to deal lovingly with each other.
The Gospel of today is made up of only three verses, but if they are well understood, they may help us revise the ideas we have about God. Many Christians still link God with fear: they believe that he is the ‘One’ who knows all, sees all, discovers our wrongdoings and waits for us at the end of our lives to punish us (if he doesn’t start punishing us even in this world!) Can love and fear go hand in hand? Could anyone love such a God? These three verses help us to discover the true face of God, the peaceful countenance that fills us with love and joy. Once we discover this truth, we will feel that we have to tell others about our discovery and experience, so that they too may be happy and their anxieties may come to an end.
When we think of God becoming man in Jesus of Nazareth, we may be satisfied with thinking that this event is only an episode, an incident of his life. He came among us, was with us for thirty odd years, taught and did all kinds of wonderful things and then returned to heaven, far away and there he resumed his usual routine of watching our sinful lives. Enough of these false notions of our loving God!
The love God has for us has been manifested through the gift of his only Son. This reminds us of the father of our faith, Abraham, who, to prove his faithfulness and love to God, was ready to sacrifice his only son. God was not only willing he actually did it for our redemption. If we still imagine God as a sovereign who gave men laws and is now making sure they are kept, if we are still thinking of him as the master of the world that we must honour in fear and trembling, then we are not Christians worshipping the ‘One’ true God.
At the heart of the Gospel we hear that God’s relationship with the world is rooted in love. It is not rooted in suspicion or condemnation as rumour has led so many to believe. Indeed God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. It is God’s radical love, which gives our world its importance; it is that same love which gives all of us our essential dignity. God’s love is all the more significant because he is fully aware of our sins and the brokenness and stupidity that are part of our sometimes-difficult lives. Clearly God is most approachable: tender, compassionate, kind, loving, forgiving, slow to anger and infinitely generous. We are his family, he is our Father.
All three persons of the Blessed Trinity reveal the fullness of the unity of God’s love. We experience something of that love when it is communicated in simple ways through the people of grace that we meet in our lives. Some are in our community, and some are complete strangers. At the centre of the mystery of God is his everlasting love and fidelity. Given the shabby response of the world, the constancy of God’s love is very difficult to grasp: a love that continues to be faithful even when he sees continued infidelity in those he loves. God’s ceaseless love of the world is so great that he sent his only beloved Son among us. The Son’s faithful love is so great that he faced the ultimate infidelity, being put to a shameful death on a Cross by those he loved. God raised his Son and sent his Spirit so that we could share the very life of the love of God.
In honouring the Trinity today we celebrate the ‘awesome stubbornness’ of God’s extravagant love for our world and all who live in it.
‘Acknowledgement and Thanks’ to ‘Recommended Source Material’ by:
Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Fr. Fernando Armellini SCI, Peter Edmonds SJ, Richard Baawobr M.Afr, Joseph A. Slattery Ph.D, Adelmo Spagnolo MCCJ, Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap, J.E. Spicer CSsR, John R. Donahue SJ and Alice Camille – Master’s degree in Divinity.
Reflections for each day this Week
to lead us in the ‘Way’:
Almighty God and Father, on the… of the week following Trinity Sunday:
Year A, we reflect on ….
Sun … The first reading proclaims a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness. Do some of us still worship a false ‘god of anger and thunder’ who continuously stands in judgment in everything we do? A ‘god’ who has a register of our every wrongdoing that we have committed and will one day condemn and punish us for our transgressions?
Mon … Divine revelation is story of a God of love, compassion and forgiveness. The parish offers its members an opportunity for all to discover the true and loving God through the study of the Sunday Liturgy in the Bible Discussion Group. All are truly welcome.
Tues … The ‘fellowship’ is the bond of divine love uniting us with the Father and with one another. Love begins in the Father; is manifested to us in the Son; and is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Let us pray that we may become temples of the Holy Spirit so that God’s love may dwell in us.
Wed … In the second reading we find Paul’s favourite concluding blessing: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you”. This describes the Trinity in a way that corresponds to the Church’s later understanding. Paul invites us all to live in peace and in the love of God.
Thurs … Many practicing Christian’s still today subconsciously link God with fear. The only fear that we need to associate with God is the fear of offending our loving God and the fear of willingly separating ourselves from him in self-imposed exile.
Frid … The three verses in today’s Gospel help us to discover the true face of God, his peaceful countenance that fills us with joy and love. Once we discover the real loving God, we will feel an uncontrollable feeling and need that we have to tell others about our discovery and experience, so that they too may share in our joy. Sat … God’s ceaseless love for the world is so great that he sent his only beloved Son among us.
The Son’s faithful love is so great that he faced the ultimate infidelity by being crucified on the Cross by those he loved for the redemption of all humankind.
Prayer after the Daily Reflection.
Father, we pray that we may begin to share in the very life of the Blessed Trinity. You sent Your Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ to bring us to the truth and make us aware of your all embracing forgiving love. You sent us your Spirit to make us holy and to renew the face of the earth.
This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.