- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

June 7, 2020

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO


(Exodus 34: 4b -6, 8 – 9; Ps. Dn 3; 2 Corinthians 13: 11 – 14; John 3: 16 – 18)


Certainly, a great figure in the Story of Salvation is Moses; called by God to a heroic task he is to lead Israel to freedom and understandably Moses tries to beg off. He pleads with God, “Lord, I have never been eloquent…I am slow of speech and tongue” but the Lord will not let him off the hook. In addition, there are the Israelites wandering back and forth from obedience to rebellion and Moses, who has had enough, cries out, “Why are You so displeased with me that You burden me with all these people?…if this is the way You will deal with me , then please do me the favor of killing me at once…” – a rather low point in Moses’ mission. And it is this man, so human, trying hard to obey, failing at times whom our God of tremendous mercy, compassion – visits in person and before him proclaims His name “Lord.” Without knowing it, Moses experiences the embrace of the Holy Trinity in a most personal, loving way.

A great figure in the New Testament St. Paul is also called to a heroic task – to be the voice of God to the Gentiles and to come to this Paul has to pass from a rigid, Pharisaic mindset to a humble, docile disciple of the Lord Jesus, the very One he once persecuted. A reality of this profound transformation is found in the last sentence of today’s reading, Paul’s prayer: “The grace of the Lord Jesus and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” How did he come to this belief in the Trinity so far removed from his Jewish belief? He answers in Galatians 1: 11f “I did not receive the Gospel from any man, nor was I schooled in it. It came by revelation from Jesus Christ” – also in a most personal, loving way.

Someone has written that the great realization in life is that love, not simply a great love, but Love Itself has chosen me for no other reason than love.” Regarding Love Itself, St. John is exuberant in proclaiming, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that everyone who believes in Him…might have eternal life.” Love itself sent Incarnate Love united in the Spirit of love. Jesus is the faithful witness, the perfect word, the face of the Father and the temple of the Spirit. Therefore, for us He is the only way into this incomprehensible mystery of love. The great mystery of the Holy Trinity is never an abstract thought for us because by our Baptism we are adopted into this Life. Every time we make the sign of the cross we acknowledge this sacred adoption, we confirm and pray to live its reality. It must never become a thoughtless, rote action. As someone said, “…like chasing flies!”

From God’s personal presence to Moses we learn that our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit ardently desires to be present to everyone, no matter what our vocation, our role in life – what the Trinity presented to Moses is the grace the Father, Son and Holy Spirit present to us in all our own human condition. How could it be otherwise?

Clearly St. Paul puts his finger on a very important, essential truth. We can read all we want about the Trinity, become very knowledgeable in theology, works of the great doctors of the Church but it is the Lord and only our Lord who brings us to personal belief – never a matter of our resolution – always a matter of receptivity, of desire answered, of grace accepted. We come to belief in the Trinity not by schooling but by Christ Himself – a touch of His grace, a profound word of life from the Word – so very personal and loving. How could it be otherwise?

The opening prayer of this Mass brings all this together:
God our Father, who by sending into the world the Word of truth and the Spirit of sanctification made known to the human race Your wondrous mystery, we pray, that in professing the true faith, we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory and adore your Unity, in majesty.

To acknowledge and to adore the Most Holy Trinity – is this not the heart of our lives?