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Jun 10, 2017 Written by  Rev. Fr. Paulino Twesigye Mondo

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity year A Be the first to comment!

Trinity

Theme: God is three in one

Today is Trinity Sunday but remember that every Sunday is a feast day of the Trinity and an occasion to celebrate one God. Although the mystery of the Trinity is central to Christian faith, it remains one of the most difficult doctrines to explain. What is the meaning of the Trinity? The root of the word ‘Trinity’ originates from the Latin word ‘trini’ which means three each, or threefold. The term was used by Tertullian in year 200 A.D to denote the central doctrine of the Christian religion. God who is one and unique in His infinite substance or nature, or Godhead; is three really distinct Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each of these three Persons is truly the same God and has all His infinite perfections; yet He is really distinct from each of the other Persons.

This truth is supported by Paul’s letter to the Colossians. “In Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell bodily.” Colossians 1:19. Without the continuing experience of Father, Son and Spirit in salvation history, humankind would be incapable of conceiving of the mystery which is Trinity. Therefore, we who are gathered here today are privileged, not only in commemorating a doctrine, but in celebrating a communion of Persons who have loved us into being, redeemed us from ourselves and who call us each day to fuller experience, deeper knowledge, and closer union.

First reading: Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9

Today I want to share my first original consciousness of God in this way: I was about five years old, sitting outside our homestead in the village. The morning was clear, cool; my black skin was soaking in the sun’s early warmth. I reflected in my small way on, how has this come about? How is it that I sit here feeling the warmth of the sun? I asked my mother ‘How did I come to be a human being?’ The answer came from her as an epiphany. ‘If God would not have been, then you, would not have been. . .’ it came to me that morning that God was my reason for being. Throughout the Holy Bible, this same pattern of communicating is repeated again and again. Reading from Exodus should help us understand that this pattern is triadic. In revelation, whether the revelation of Sinai or in the Christ event, the transcendent divinity goes forth out of the depths of his own being, in self-communication. He also creates the response to his revelation.

This triadic pattern of communion between Yahweh and Moses can be better appreciated if we are aware of its context within the Sinai experience. Exodus 34 is actually the culmination of a dialogue which began to unfold much earlier in the book. Having revealed himself to his people as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to whom he had made promises of descendants, prosperity and a land of their own. cf. Exodus 3:6. Yahweh also made it known that he knew of the sufferings of his people and would fulfill those ancient pledges. Promising to be ever present to his people in Exodus 3:12, he also expressed his desire to lead them to freedom. After revealing himself as “I AM” in Exodus 3:15, God invited Moses and the Israelites to identify themselves as his own people, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation and to live in a manner illustrative of their relationship with him cf. Exodus 19:5,6.

To sustain and preserve their ongoing communion, God gave Israel wise counsel and guidance in the form of the commandments cf. Exodus 20:1-17. Israel breached the terms of its covenant with Yahweh as seen in Exodus 32:1-10; nevertheless, despite the fact that his people had negated his overtures of love and care, God revealed himself as willing to renew the dialogue with them and reinstated them in right relationship to himself. It is at this point and against this background that today’s first reading should be considered. When Moses came down from his mountaintop communion with God and discovered Israel’s infidelity, he smashed the tablets of the law. Upon consultation with Yahweh in the tent of meeting and after reminding him of his professed commitment to his people, Moses also requested that God reveal his glory to him.

God’s willingness to restore the dialog with Israel and to communicate himself to them is made expressively clear here. New tablets were inscribed with the terms of the covenant, instead of the commandments; what Israel had broken, God would heal and forgive. Then in response to Moses’ request to see his glory and thereby to know him more fully, God pronounced his name, he communicated himself in the essence of his being as Lord, as Graciousness, Mercy, Kindness, Fidelity and Slow to Anger. Centuries later, these essential attributes of God would be spoken in an even more radical fashion, through the incarnation of the Word of God in Jesus.

Second reading: 2Corinthians 13:11-13

Had the Corinthian community not been so colorful and contentious, we might have been deprived of the wealth of theological, Christological and ecclesiological insights which comprise Paul’s correspondence to them. During an eighteen month ministry among the Corinthians, Paul had succeeded in founding a church of Jewish and Gentile Christians; after departing the city for other missions, Paul maintained contact with the Corinthians via letters he wrote which may be more than two; cf. 1Corinthians 5:9-11 and messengers such as Stephanus, Fortunatus, Achaicus, Timothy, Titus, Chloe who he quotes. Because fractiousness and a variety of other issues continued to threaten the well being and survival of the Church in Corinth, Paul’s letters contain valuable teaching and paranesis (persuasive preaching intended to evoke a moral response) on a numberless of vital topics, e.g. Eucharist, resurrection, spiritual gifts and the appropriate exercise of these gifts, freedom of conscience, communal love, the shortfalls of humanist philosophies, unity and diversity. The difficulties Paul faced in Corinth proved to be a blessing for the Church of Christ everywhere in every generation. Paul’s responses to the pastoral challenges have guided countless Christian leaders and congregations through their own crises. Obviously, this excerpt before us today was selected for today’s liturgy because it includes a blessing which names the divine trinity of persons, that is; God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. Although trinitarian theology per se would not be defined for a few centuries, Paul’s benediction represents a seminal understanding of this mystery.

Forming the conclusion of what is known as Paul’s second letter to Corinthians these verses offer some measure of relief after a lengthy section of warning and discipline. Paul took the Corinthians to task for: their lack of confidence in his leadership cf. 2Corinthians 10:7; comparing his style of oratory to others; suspecting him of fraudulently collecting money from them in 2Corinthians 11:16-18; ascribing to ‘super apostles’ and a gospel other than what he had preached among them cf. 2Corinthians 11:5, losing their initial fervor for Christ in 2Corinthians 11:2-3 and questioning his authority in 2Corinthians 11:16-12:13. Accusing them of being unrepentant, of quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, conceit and disorder, Paul warned the Corinthians that, on his next visit he would not be lenient see cf. 2Corinthians 12:14, 13:2. Rather, he would take whatever measures were necessary to help them to become perfect cf. 2 Corinthians 13:9 and do what is right in 2Corinthians 13:7. Only at this point did Paul soften his message with a concluding word of encouragement and love which continues to speak to all his readers who may find a little of the Corinthian within themselves. Those who are willing to mend their ways can be sure of the saving graces of Jesus Christ, the ever present love of God and the abiding fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Gospel: John 3:16-18

When Aristides, the second century A.D. Athenian philosopher wrote to Emperor Hadrian in year 138 A.D, he described the early believers in Jesus in this way: ‘They love one another. They never fail to help widows; they save orphans from those who would hurt them. If they have something, they give freely to the person who has nothing; if they see a stranger, they take him home, and are happy, as though he were a real brother. They don’t consider themselves brothers in the usual sense, but brothers instead, through the Spirit, in God’. Elsewhere in his Apology for the Christian Faith, Aristides the pagan writer described Christians as people of a ‘new nation who alone have a true idea of God who is the creator of all things in his only begotten Son and in the Holy Spirit.’ He also insisted that it was due to the supplications of Christians that God allowed the world to continue existing. What Aristides did not include in his writings was the fact that every good and loving action performed by Christians had its origin in God, the very source of love and goodness. So also, the idea that Christians could have a true idea of God was rooted in the fact that God had taken the initiative in revealing himself and in communicating himself to the world in Jesus Christ. Whereas Aristides looked in admiration at believers in Jesus, St. John turns our attention at the reason why Christ came into the world.

The encounter of Nicodemus with Jesus summarizes the very essence of this Good News. a-that the initiative of all salvation lies in God who gave his only Son. b- that the initiative was out of pure love. c- that God’s loving and saving initiative was universal because from the beginning God loved the world. d- that this Good News outlined the purpose of the Son’s mission because God did not send the Son to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him and may enjoy eternal life. Included also herein is the fundamental request made by the Father’s love and the Son’s saving mission which is ‘to believe’ in God and ‘to believe in the name of God’s only Son’. Doing otherwise is tantamount to choosing condemnation. There is no doubt that the saving self-communication of God to the world in Jesus was an act of purest love.

St. Paul underlines this fact when he teaches that no one can claim to be worthy of deserving such an action, “but God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. . . while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son” Romans 5:8,10.

We can deduce from St. John even ‘sinners and enemies’ are challenged to respond to God’s loving gift. It is this response, in faith, which will determine if that gift will be enjoyed as a saving grace or as a judgment of condemnation. Whether it is one or the other depends on the free response of the recipient, not on the caprice of the giver. Notice that John focus on realized eschatology is evident in his assertion that those who refuse to believe are already condemned by their own volition and those who choose to believe have eternal life. In the Trinitarian experience which is Christian existence, a loving God sends forth his Son to save sinners. By the power of the abiding Spirit, believing sinners continue to know both the saving power of the Son and the loving grace of the Father and to share in them the present joy and future promise of eternal life.

Application

When we deal with God, we must make sure we are not confusing God with nature or a mythical being a level above us. The Christian God is first of all communitarian. Tri-unitarian. God is primarily relational. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are who they are by doing what they do: relate to each other. Then, God creates outside beings to relate to. God relates to rocks and maples and tigers and humans according to their capacity to respond. Absolutely nothing can exist outside of some direct relationship with God. God takes responsibility for every single thing that He has created. In the case of humans, God assumes personal responsibility for each one of us. It is hard to believe that God cares so much about us. But a God who would not die for you is just another self-centered idol, and is why God is who is; God is one, God is Father, Savior and Paraclete. God is Holy Trinity.

 

417 Last modified on Saturday, 10 June 2017 10:05

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Welcome to Our Lady of Africa Parish Mbuya. We are located near Bugolobi Township in Nakawa Division. It is about 5 kms from the City Centre of Kampala. Mbuya Catholic Parish is a vibrant and diverse community made up of people from different parts of Uganda. We welcome you warmly and joyfully.

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