Sunday Readings and Reflections
26th May 2013TRINITY SUNDAY FIRST READING: Prv 8:22-31
The LORD begot me, the beginning of his works, the forerunner of his deeds of long ago; From of old I was formed, at the first, before the earth. When there were no deeps I was brought forth, when there were no fountains or springs of water; Before the mountains were settled into place, before the hills, I was brought forth; When the earth and the fields were not yet made, nor the first clods of the world. When he established the heavens, there was I, when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep; When he made firm the skies above, when he fixed fast the springs of the deep; When he set for the sea its limit, so that the waters should not transgress his command; When he fixed the foundations of earth, then was I beside him as artisan; I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while, Playing over the whole of his earth, having my delight with human beings.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access (by faith) to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us
"I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
• The New African Bible, Paulines publications Africa.
The three biblical passages that we read today aid our reflection on the identity of the Christian God. It is not enough to say we believe in God, it is important for us to know in what God we believe. The pagans and members of other sects are different from us because their faces reflect different gods. It is important to know who our God is and what it entails to believe in a God who is three-in-one.
The first reading tells us that the Father creates with wisdom, not randomly by or in a confused way; he has a plan of salvation to achieve.
The second reading presents the work of the Son who glorifies the Father.
The gospel clarifies the work of the Spirit. He will bring to completion the work of the Father and of the Son.
oday's feast is one of the distinguishing marks of our faith, the Holy Trinity. We know that God is one; we believe that he is the Father who created the universe; we believe that he is the Son, who came into this world like one of us; we believe that he fulfils his plan of love by his Spirit. The readings today help us to understand this central fact of our faith.
The first reading tells us about the Father and his creative work, how God made wisdom before anything else, and it was such a splendid creature that the Lord kept it at his side. What is the meaning of all this imagery?
Reflecting on what happens in the world, in our lives, all the atrocities, we might think that the universe is the result of chance, that all is confusion and chaos, without purpose or meaning. The reading tells us that everything comes from a wise God.
Having created the universe what did God do? Did he abandon the world and all that was in it to its fate? There are some religions that teach that God lives up there in heaven all by himself, far away from people. Is this the God we believe in? Certainly not; our God is completely different. In the first reading we saw how the wisdom of God expressed a wish to remain with the "children of men." In the fullness of time God really did enter our world, made himself one of us. This God-made-man is the Son, the perfect image of the Father, the wisdom we saw in the first reading. God intervened in our history to justify us by faith in Jesus. So "we boast in the hope of the glory of God".
Faith in God the Son is to believe that he loved us to the point of sharing the precariousness and weakness of our lives, to hope with a hope that will never let us down; that this infinite love, though at times it may not seem very successful, will never be defeated.
Jesus says, "I have much more to tell you but you cannot bear it now".
In the verses that follow he says that the Spirit will not add anything to what he has already said, but would help them to understand what Jesus had already taught them. The reason why Jesus does not explain everything to them is not that he does not have time, but because of their inability to bear the burden of his message. What makes the burden so heavy is the cross. It would not have been possible for them to understand that God's plan for our salvation included the failure, defeat, and death of his Son, that our real life can only be achieved through self-giving. This is the "whole truth" and would be impossible to bear without the power of the Spirit.
Only the Spirit can convince us to accept the Father's plan and the work of the Son.
"He will guide you to all truth" does not refer to the end of the world but to the application of the message of Jesus to the problems of all ages. For instance, it is not enough to know that it is written in the Gospel that we must love each other, we must also know how to do it, and it is the Spirit who will teach us how. And who does the Spirit speak to? All disciples of Christ are instructed and led by the Spirit, so whenever we gather to celebrate the Word, everybody is invited to share what the Spirit is saying to them, so that all may be encouraged and enriched.
The readings today speak of the Trinity not to puzzle us (how can 1 become 3?), but to tell us of the love of God for us and to show us his plan for our salvation. The Trinity is the identity card of the Christian; the disciple of Jesus must reflect the face of God who is Father, Son and Spirit. The mark of the Trinity is seen in the community when all feel accepted and welcomed, when joys and sorrows are shared, where diversity does not wipe out unity, but enriches all. We see the mark of the Trinity wherever there is the search for true glory: not one resulting from competition and domination, but from humble service to those who need love.
• Fernando Armellini, SCI, Celebrating the Word, Year C,
Paulines Publications Africa, First Reprint 2010.
• Peter Edmunds, SJ, A Companion to the Sunday Missal, ABC,
Paulines Publications Africa, Second Reprint, 2007.
• The Daily Missal, Paulines Publications Africa, Year of Publication 2012