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.
Always this is one of the most difficult of Christian doctrines to understand and one of the most difficult of Sundays on which to preach. We preachers can avoid the real challenge of this Sunday or we can work hard without much results.
The reality of the Most Holy Trinity is given to us in Holy Scriptures by Jesus Himself. Yet we know that our Lord Jesus never presented His followers with a Catechism! Rather, our Lord Jesus presents His followers with reflections on His lived experiences, reflecting His Self-understanding and His personal experiences of His Father and His Holy Spirit.
Immediately this can lead us to reflect on the way to come to know Father, Son and Holy Spirit: through listening to our Lord Jesus and reflecting on His experiences and on our own.
In order to understand, we must begin today with the readings that are given to us for our reflection and ponder how they touched the life of our Master and how they touch our own lives. The first reading, from the Book of Exodus, is clearly speaks of a most personal experience that Moses had with the living God. This was not just a thought that came into the head of Moses, but an actual experience of the holiness and separateness of God.
Lots of us never have such an experience. Most of us have some experience of touching on the mysteries of life and recognizing that there is more to life than just this world. Today we are invited to take time a reflect on whatever experience we have that has indicated to us a deeper understanding of life, a touch of the divine, a sense that this world is not all that is.
As we reflect, we can recognize that our ancestors in the faith and our Lord Jesus Himself (in His human aspect) were formed by the teachings of the Old Testament, the teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures. How Jesus is formed humanly is always a mystery but clearly He is speaks from His knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures.
From Jesus and from the New Testament writings, those writings that reflect such an intimate knowledge of our Lord, we see and hear Jesus relating to God as His Father, we hear and see Jesus claiming to be Son but also clearly presenting Himself as God, and we hear and see Jesus speaking of the Holy Spirit, of His Holy Spirit, of the Spirit that He will send to us.
So we come to know the Trinity in this way. At the heart of this mystery of the Trinity is this message: ” For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”
Let us rejoice today as we thank and praise this God who loves us, this God who saves us, this God who shows us mercy and compassion.