Although the Easter Season is over and Ordinary Time has begun, this Sunday’s celebration is not quite in the normal mold of Ordinary time. Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity. God loves us so much that He wants to make Himself known to us. As a result, He revealed the mystery of the Trinity to us. Although we can never completely understand the Holy Trinity we can gain some insight into the Trinity as a model of love. We as faithful followers of Jesus and partakers in the gift of the Holy Spirit, the very Spirit of Love, ought to reflect that love here on earth.
First Reading: Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9
4 Moses then cut two stone tablets like the former, and early the next morning he went up Mount Sinai as the LORD had commanded him, taking along the two stone tablets.
5 Having come down in a cloud, the LORD stood with him there and proclaimed his name, “LORD.” 6 Thus the LORD passed before him and cried out, “The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.
8 Moses at once bowed down to the ground in worship. 9 Then he said, “If I find favor with you, O Lord, do come along in our company. This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own.”
NOTES on First Reading:
* 34:4-9 This is a restatement of the theme dealing with the mediator of the covenent, Moses, going up the holy mountain to meet God. The event being described is Moses’ second trip up the mountain to get the law . Some scholars speculate that the verses (10-26) that follow this introduction is the Yahwist version of the Decalogue (Ten Commandments).
The word translated as “LORD” actually is the proper name of God, “Yahweh”, which out of respect the Jews did not pronounce. They instead substituted the word, “Adonai,” which means “Lord”. Traditionally, English translators have followed the practice of using the English word, Lord, as a translation for Yahweh. To indicate this special case the word was usually printed in all capital letters as “LORD.” The New American Bible does the same thing. The Jerusalem Bible is the first mainstream translation that broke from the tradition and used the proper name, “Yahweh.”
* 34:5 A cloud is one of the common symbols indicating the presence of God. Such manifestations are called theophanies.
* 34:9 This is the prayer of the mediator. Moses prays for his people.
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 13: 11-13
11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the holy ones greet you. 13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you.
NOTES on Second Reading:
* 13:11-13 2 Cor is a composite letter that was formed by combining several shorter letters or short portions of letters. Although these three verses now form the end of 2 Cor in its final form, many scholars think that they were originally the conclusion of chapters 10-13.
* 13:14 This verse is one of the clearest and most explicit Trinitarian statements in the New Testament. The only one that may be considered more explicit is Matthew 28:19. Of Paul’s letters the only comparable passage is Eph 5:23.
Gospel Reading: John 3: 16-18
16 For 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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
NOTES on Gospel:
The Gospel reading is taken from an interuption in the story of Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodemus. The Gospel writer, as narator, breaks into the story with a statement about the sending of the son to bring life to the world. It expresses the realized eschatology of John’s theology. This is the only place other than the Prologue where Christ is called only son typed after Isaac. The comparison with Abraham giving up his son (Gen 22:1-19) is the thrust of the reading. The Father’s love for the world He had created prompted a radical action. ” World” is used in two different senses by John. Often it means that which interferes with following the Lord or living the life of faith in Christ. Here it simply means creation in general and human kind in particular. The reading more or less forces the reader to consider the love of humanity which could have prompted such a sacrifice on the part of the Father.
* 3:16 This is where the term “everlasting life” or “eternal life” is first used by John. This verse is somewhat unusual in that John’s gospel does not focus on Jesus’ death as a sacrifice like some other New Testament books although it is acknowledged.