May 18, 2008 Year A
Most Holy Trinity
Reflections on the Readings
By Dennis Hankins
Theme: The Fullness of Love
Love never ends. (I Corinthians 13:8)
Luther described John 3:16 as the 'Gospel in miniature.' If you watch baseball on TV you have seen JOHN 3:16 displayed by someone sitting behind home plate. It is by far the most popular verse of Holy Scripture. Today we learn that the God of Moses and the God of John 3:16 is the same God. He is the God who is 'merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.'
God keeps steadfast love for 'thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.' Yet for all this 'he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.' To believe in Jesus is why we contemplate today the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. This contemplation is worthy of a lifetime of prayer and reflection.
An icon of the Holy Trinity written by Andrew Rublev beautifully expresses the Trinitarian mystery. In his book Behold the Beauty of the Lord-Praying with the Icons; Henri Nouwen gives a reflection on this icon. Nouwen said, "For me the contemplation of this icon has increasingly become a way to enter more deeply into the mystery of divine life while remaining fully engaged in the struggles of our hate-and–fear-filled world."
Perhaps that is the best explanation of why we reflect on the Most Holy Trinity. God gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. As we enter more deeply into this mystery of divine life we become more connected to this holy love. But the way to this completeness is through surrender and sacrifice. It would be more immediately pleasing to belong to the world. But it is this world that Jesus overcame. He overcame its sin, pride, and lust for power; he showed us 'a more excellent way.' Through the will of the love that brought him to us he gave to us 'a holy kiss.' Love found a way; love is the way.
Bishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of Chicago said, "I don't ever run out of love because the love I have comes from God, and his love is eternal. If I die tomorrow, and I know that I loved, then I can die happy. Its all about love."
We are filled with happiness and bring happiness to all when we give ourselves up to the love of God. This perfect love has the power to conquer every fear. We find our way in this dark world of fear and hate and distrust through the dignity and power of the love that never ends. This is the fullness of love to which we are called. It beckons us from an old rugged cross teaching us that if we would find life we must give up our life. It teaches us that we lift the burdens and cares of others when we take up our cross and follow Jesus. It teaches us that it is more blessed to give than to receive; that faith the size of a mustard seed has the indomitable strength of eternal life. We come to the contemplation of the Most Holy Trinity to discover again an abyss of love the never ends.
Let us pray: Dear Jesus, help me to beat my chest and not my drum. I long to be lost in the wonder and power of your love. Free me from my self-absorption, to be wrapped up in you and not in myself. AMEN