Sunday Homily: The Love of the Father, the Grace of the Son and the Communion of the Spirit

Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, Year A

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Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9
Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
John 3:16-18

One of the deepest truths about our life is we come from the Trinity and that we are called to return to the Trinity. The Trinity is the central mystery of our Christian faith and all the other mysteries are connected to it.

The first reading takes us back to the revelation of God’s name to the people of Israel. It is a revelation of God’s fidelity and love: «God calls Moses from the midst of a bush that burns without being consumed: ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’. God is the God of the fathers, the One who had called and guided the patriarchs in their wanderings. He is the faithful and compassionate God who remembers them and his promises; he comes to free their descendants from slavery. He is the God who, from beyond space and time, can do this and wills to do it, the God who will put his almighty power to work for this plan» (CCC, 205).

The people of Israel sinned against God at the foot of Mount Sinai when they worshiped the golden calf. They broke the covenant they had just entered into with God. Even though the people deserved death, «God hears Moses’ prayer of intercession and agrees to walk in the midst of an unfaithful people, thus demonstrating his love. After the worship of the golden calf, Moses still enjoyed the privilege of seeing God face-to-face, yet God would soon withdraw this privilege of Moses and allow him only to catch a glimpse of God’s glory after it passed by (Exodus 33:7-23). Why did God do this? Because Moses was intent on reconciling the people with God. In this sense, Moses unites himself to sinful Israel and loses his privilege. However, like Christ, he accepts the loss and humiliation for the sake of sinners (S. Hahn, A Father Who Keeps His Promises, Servant Books, 160).

It is possible, then, that Moses’ vision of God’s glory in the tent was something natural; in exchange for placing himself as mediator, God reveals something much greater to Moses – that he is Grace and Mercy. «Thus, the Lord compensated Moses for whatever he lost by way of a natural vision of divine glory; for in return, Moses received a far greater revelation of God’s supernatural glory, as it is revealed in his covenant grace and mercy. This is the deepest and most glorious mystery of all, unknowable by the human mind and invisible to the natural eye. It is the essence of God’s inner life and the heart of the covenant» (S. Hahn, A Father Who Keeps His Promises, Servant Books, 160).

Our God is a forgiving God and does receive us as his own. He does this by sending his only Son to save the world: «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». We hear the voice of the Father when we listen to the words of the Son. Jesus says: «For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me» (John 12:49-50).

The second reading is the conclusion of Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians. We are familiar with the last line because it is part of the greeting at the beginning of mass: «The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all». Love is attributed to the Father because charity is necessary for us to become united to God. He is the source of love and loved the world so much that he sent us his only begotten Son. Grace is attributed to the Son, since grace is a gift by which sins are forgiven. The remission of sin is accomplished in us by the Son who took our flesh and made satisfaction for our sins. Communion or communication is attributed to the Holy Spirit, since the giving of divine gifts is accomplished by the Holy Spirit (see Thomas Aquinas,Commentary on the Second Letter to the Corinthians, ch. 13, lect. 3, 544-545). The mystery we celebrated today is that «God is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange» (CCC, 221).

Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at

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