During the Easter season, several readings highlighted the role of the Holy Spirit in sustaining the Christian community after Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension. Over the past weeks, we have encountered biblical articulations of the relationship among the persons of the Trinity. As we return to Ordinary Time, today we celebrate the Holy Trinity, a mystery of faith that demonstrates the love within God and its manifestations on earth. Each of the readings is short but significant for understanding the implications of God’s steadfast love.
‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.’ (2 Cor 13:13)
How can God’s love for the world influence your life?
What can you do to foster a loving community?
How can you show gratitude for God’s love?
“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 to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” John asserts the distinctiveness and the interconnection between the Father and the Son. Likewise, he frames Christ’s suffering as an act of love (Gk. agape) that enables believers to receive eternal life. Christ’s presence on earth is salvific, not judgmental, an assertion that is reiterated elsewhere in the Gospel (Jn 5:24, 12:47).
In the first reading, we also hear of God’s love for the world. The context is Moses receiving the law on Mount Sinai. Within this experience, God’s mercy, graciousness and kindness (Heb. hesed) are highlighted. Recognizing God’s love, Moses requests forgiveness for the sins of his community.
Both agape and hesed are theologically significant terms whose magnitude should not be missed. They express the nature of God’s relationship with creation as active, not passive. “Love” and “kindness” demonstrate God’s engagement, faithful commitment and care for the world.
The love that God shares with the world comes from within God’s essence. The second reading provides us with the quintessential Trinitarian formula that distinguishes and unites the persons of the Trinity, affirming their relation to one another and the world. Grace (from belief in the Son), love (from the Father who gave his Son), and fellowship (from the Spirit who empowers the faithful) are all actions of the Trinity.
Just before this Trinitarian statement is made, there is a farewell address that can inspire ancient and modern readers of this text: Rejoice, mend relationships, be encouraging and agreeable with one another and live in peace. Like the Trinity, these ideas are both individual and collective. Rejoicing over the salvation that comes through Christ begins in personal belief, yet that belief is shared by many and unites people as a faith community. Similarly, actively working to live in peace and harmony is beneficial both personally and communally.
On this Trinity Sunday, as we reflect on the love and connections within the Trinity, we should express our gratitude for God’s steadfast love and work to imitate God in our interactions with one another.