Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9
Early in the morning Moses went up Mount Sinai as the LORD had commanded him, taking along the two stone tablets. Having come down in a cloud, the LORD stood with Moses there and proclaimed his name, “LORD.” Thus the LORD passed before him and cried out, “The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” Moses at once bowed down to the ground in worship. Then he said, “If I find favor with you, O Lord, do come along in our company. This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own.”
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Brothers and sisters, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the holy ones greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
Gospel Cycle Cycle A
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Right after the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, we come the next Sunday to celebrate the Holy Trinity. This is at the heart of our Christian faith. We believe that God is ONE. And yet we also believe that God is THREE. It is a mystery which we cannot understand rationally, even though our minds and our hearts capture a bit of this mystery.
The only way that seems possible to come to this mystery is through our following of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. As we find ourselves accepting Him, then we begin to hear Him speak of the Father, His Father, Our Father. And even as we hear Him speaking of the Father, we also hear Him saying: The Father and I are one.
Later we hear Him saying: I will send you the Spirit, the Paraclete, who will teach you the truth. We hear Him speaking about His Spirit. We hear Him saying that the Father will send you the Spirit.
Once we begin to listen to what Jesus is telling us, then we come fairly easily to accept this mystery of the Trinity, even when we do not understand it. At the very base level of this mystery is accepting that there is a God, that Jesus is God and that the Spirit is given to those who believe.
Today’s readings focus in a little on these mysteries. The first reading, from Exodus, tells us about God and His relationship with His people. The reading at times can seem very primitive and almost funny. There is Moses having a very personal encounter with the living God. Then Moses says: “If I find favor with you, O Lord, do come along in our company. This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own.”
We need to invite the Father to come along in our company today. He loves us and wants to come along with us. We need to remember to invite Him every day. Moses is very realistic: “This is indeed a stiff-necked people, yet pardon our wickedness and sins.” We need not run away from God because we are wicked or sinful. Rather, we can invite him to come along with us and pardon our sins and receive us as His own. What a wonderful teaching this is!
The Gospel gives us an image of Jesus as coming to save the world, not to condemn it. This is so important in our deepest understandings of God. God loves us, pardons us, wants to be with us and saves us. So often God has become a scary reality that seems only to exist in order to condemn us. John’s Gospel reassures us that our wickedness and our sinfulness are no reason to fear God. We must only turn to God and ask Him to walk with us.
The second reading, from Second Corinthians, is the same message: a God of peace and love. Paul’s wish for his converts is very clear and it should be our wish for one another: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” Sometimes we hear this greeting in Holy Mass. Today we extend this greeting to all whom we meet.
Probably we cannot imagine speaking to one another with this kind of language! On the other hand, we can still have these wonderful wishes for one another, whether we say them out loud or not.
May we come to know the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, at work in our lives and within others. May we adore that divine presence and begin to live this divinity in our relationships with one another. May Father, Son and Spirit bless our lives completely.