A Community of Love

06-05-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

It has often been said that no one can know someone else 100% and that there is always a little mystery in every person, no matter. This usually makes for a more interesting relationship and life. When we realize that we always have more to discover in ourselves or other people, it makes sense that there is always more mystery to be discovered in God. Certainly, the sacred mystery of the Holy Trinity, which is one God in three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, always has some more to be discovered and understood. The depth and beauty of our God is a reality that is an unfolding mystery, which we will never cease contemplating and celebrating.

We believe that the Holy Trinity is not some theological abstraction, but is a real truth into which we are drawn. We know much about God’s inner life because God has shown and told us in history and in time. As people, we learn best by stories that give us detail and also symbol and growing meaning. The bible is principally in narrative, or story, form. As we come to understand from the stories, our praise of God grows greater.

At Mass this weekend our first passage offers us a sense of awe. It is a great dramatic sto-ry whereby Moses, summoned by the Lord, journeys to a high place and the “Lord” descends enshrouded in clouds and then passes before Moses. This God announces his name as “Lord” and describes himself as “a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” Scholars tell us that the Hebrew words for God’s care for us are words of deep and gut-level feeling. The Lord sees and cares about his people with the worry and the concern of a par-ent. Indeed this God, the Lord, cannot help but act on behalf of an admittedly stiff-necked people.

Moses’ response is first adoration and then he speaks and recognizes that this transcendent Lord seeks to be personally involved with Israel. This great God looks favorably on tiny little Is-rael. With risk Moses requests God to “come along in our company” and receive an unworthy people as God’s own. And God does this. We know that God does just this. All Hebrew Scriptures in one way or another tell us how it goes with a people and the God who chose them, small and contrary as they are.

The followers of Jesus only had the Hebrew Scriptures to form their religious sense and meaning. The story of Jesus sits on this foundation of Jewish scripture. In our Gospel story, a troubled Nicodemus, who is a learned man in the Hebrew Scriptures and also powerful, allows us to learn of the relationship of Jesus to the God of Moses, the God rich in kindness and fidelity. We learn much in this story of Nicodemus: we learn of God’s great care for our world in the person of Jesus, the teacher. We also learn that Jesus is more than a teacher. He is, in addition, the only begotten Son of the Father.

A religious reflection on God—whom we address as Father and Son and Holy Spirit—is set before us today in two wonderful narratives: as abiding presence on a high place and, in contrast, as a quiet revelation to a troubled, hesitant Nicodemus. In these stories, we discover that God who is for us is with us in the Son. In the second reading, we hear that the belief in the presence of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is clearly evident in the faith community of then. By the time this epistle is written, the faith of the Christian community is more easily discernible. We hear that the blessings of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—flow easily and familiarly. Faith in God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has become part of the language and living awareness of the Christian community. Their words and blessings point to the presence of a personal God whose inner life is a community of love, as theirs must be.

As we ponder our faith and relationship with our God, the power and meaning of the Trinity become clearer and deeper for us. As we come to know our God better, his power as Father, Son, and Spirit grows greater in our consciousness and daily life

Fr. Brian