Holy for the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, Year A 2020
God so Loved the World
In a year three class, the teacher being so angry about religious violence, decided to prove to his class that God does not exist, and it is foolish to believe in the existence of God. He asked his class to look up and they did, and he asked them, ‘Did you see God?’ they replied no. Then it is foolish to believe God exists. A boy at the back of his class asked the teacher, ‘Can you see the spider web on your head?’ the teacher said no. ‘Then you are foolish. I can see it.’
This sounds funny. But it is exactly why God does not want to be seen or known on our own terms. He is God. He is nothing like us. He is holy, which in the Judeo-Christian sense means utterly the Other. He does not just transcend us, but He is with us. He is far, but He is near, near enough to hear our cry, walk our path and die our death. In a nutshell, He is a mystery. For whatever we say or think of Him is less of who He really is. So we can only behold Him.
Saint Anselm puts it so well when he said, ‘God is the Other of whom nothing greater can be thought.’ On the flipside, He is also the God who is forever revealing Himself, communicating His plans in His creatures and in the world. At the very beginning of time, according to the book of Genesis, He revealed Himself as the Father who calls things into being, orders the universe and filled it with life. In Exodus, He is the Father who led His son Israel out of slavery.
In the prophets, He reveals His fidelity to the household of Israel. Consistently, He proved Himself as the Father who keeps His promises. The Father who is reaching out to gather in His children. He even went to the extent of communicating Himself as the mother who loves her children and will not throw them away with the bathwater. And in Wisdom literature, She is the wisdom that is unfolding, breaking into the world, and ordering all things to Her purposes.
In the New Testament, the Self-Communicating God revealed Himself fully in His Son. And the Son, repeatedly said, to have seen Me, is to have seen the Father who sent Me. The oneness of the Father and the Son is communicated in the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Son. In John 3:16-18, we hear the Son saying to Nicodemus, ‘God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son…’ This statement defines the breadth and depth of God’s love.
It is the love that cuts across family tides, ethnic groups, race, colour, nationality, moral integrity, and religious affiliations. Jesus did not say God so loved the Christians. He did not say God so loved the white, the black, the good men and women, but the world, the whole world, communicating to us that sense of family. For He is the Father of us all: the good, the bad and the ugly. This sense of family and relationship is fundamental to the Holy Trinity.
For G. K. Chesterton, the Holy Trinity is a technical way of saying God is love.And love is never lived in isolation. So God is a family of Persons, and He is reaching out to bring us all into His family. He sent His Son into the world, not to condemn it, but to gather it so that at the end, He will be all in all. And before the Son ascended into heaven, He breathed the Holy Spirit onto us and sent us to continue the in-gathering in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And the Holy Spirit sustains and completes the work of the Father and Son in us. An example is a story of a mother whose husband had Coronavirus. Doctors predicted he had only few more hours to live. But she felt the Holy Spirit, the love she shares with her husband urging her to pray for him, and not to lose heart. She kept praying, and she never gave up on him. At the end, he did not die. She believes the Holy Spirit completed in her husband what the Son had already done in him even though he was not religious. For her, it was God loving him, and the world.
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