INTRODUCTION AND CONFITEOR
Today we celebrate the greatest mystery of our faith. We would not know anything about it if God had not revealed it to us. The mystery is this: that God is Father, Son and Spirit.
It is not so much something to talk about (for words are totally inadequate), as something to celebrate, pray, ‘and live. [Pause]
Lord Jesus, you reveal to us the mystery of the Father, and of his love for us. Lord, have mercy.
You reveal to us the mystery of your own divine son ship, and you share your divine inheritance with us. Christ, have mercy.
You reveal to us the mystery of the Holy Spirit who binds us together as brothers and sisters. Lord, have mercy.
HEADINGS FOR READINGS
First Reading (Exodus 34:4-6.8-9). God revealed himself to Moses on Mount Sinai as a God of tenderness and compassion. Moses begged God to accompany his stubborn people on their journey to the Promised Land.
Second Reading (2 Cor 13:11-13). This is the conclusion of St Paul’s second letter to the Christians at Corinth. We sometimes use it as a greeting at the start of Mass.
Gospel (John 3:16-18). This passage has a most consoling message. God the Father sent his Son to us, not to condemn us, but to save us.
The Trinity is not an easy subject to preach about. We are dealing with the mystery of God. It is not a day for deep theologising. It is a day to keep things simple. When a pond is still, you can see into it. Even if you can’t see right down to the bottom, you can see something of what is contained in its depths. But once you begin to stir things up, everything disappears. Far better then on this day to invite the people to gaze brieﬂy into the mystery of God, than to plunge them into deep theology and leave them confused and lost.
The following two stories may help a little.
Two men were one day walking along the seashore, discussing the mystery of God. However, they were getting hopelessly bogged down. Suddenly they came upon a small boy playing on the beach. He had dug a hole in the sand and kept running down to the sea, dipping his toy bucket in the water, and running back up the beach to empty the water into the hole. The two men watched him for some time as he ran backwards and forwards filling and emptying his bucket. They found the scene amusing. They went up to him and asked him what he was doing. Very seriously he told them that he was trying to empty the ocean into the hole he had dug in the sand.
The two smiled, and walked on, resuming their discussion about God. After a while, one of them stopped and said to the other: ‘You know, we were amused just now when that child told us what he was trying to do. Yet what we have been trying to do in our discussion about God is just the same. It is just as impossible for us to understand the mystery of God as it is for that child to put the water of the ocean into that hole. Our minds are but tiny thimbles, whereas the reality of God is as great as the ocean’.
The point of this story is obvious. Yet it should not be used to justify laziness or superﬁciality in our approach to the mystery of God.
A farmer went into the city. He was walking down a very busy street when he suddenly stopped and said to a friend who was with him, ‘I can hear a cricket’. His friend was amazed and asked, ‘How can you hear a cricket in the middle of all this noise and confusion?’ ‘I can hear him because my ears are attuned to his sound,’ he replied.
Then he listened even more intently, and following the sound, found the cricket perched on a window ledge. His friend couldn’t get over this. But the farther showed no great surprise. Instead he took a few coins out of his pocket and threw them on the pavement. On hearing the jingle of coins, all the passersby stopped in their tracks. ‘You see what I mean,’ said the farmer. ‘None of those people could hear the sound of the cricket, but all of them could hear the sound of the money. People hear what their ears are attuned to hear, and ignore or miss all the rest’.
The point being made here is again obvious. Voltaire said: ‘It is natural to admit the existence of God as soon as one opens one’s eyes’. Yet many look and see nothing. They listen and hear nothing. We have to be attuned to ‘hear’ and ‘see’ God. This calls for great openness and sensitivity.
But in the heel of the hunt, as they say, the best thing a Christian can do is look at the Gospels. In other words, we have to look at how Jesus spoke about this mystery and lived it. He spoke about God as a merciful and forgiving Father. He spoke about himself as the Son of the Father. And by seeking to do the will of his Father at all times, he showed us how a child of God should live. The will of the Father was that he should bring us the good news of salvation. But it was the Holy Spirit who commissioned him for this work. He said: ‘The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me. He sent me to bring good news to the poor’.
We are dealing with a great mystery, yet any child can grasp it in such a way as to be able to pray it and live it. We think of God as our Father, 3 Father who loves us deeply. It is from him we come, and it is to him that our lives ﬂow like a brook to the sea. We think of Jesus, the Son of God, as our Brother. He leads us to the Father’s house. We think of the Holy Spirit as the one who helps us to live like Jesus, and who binds us together as brothers and sisters in a community of love.
Like fish in the sea and birds in the air, this becomes the very atmosphere in which a Christian prays and lives.
‘I think that the best way to know God is to love many things’. (Van Gogh).
‘I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. I believe in love even when I don’t feel it. I believe in God even when he is silent’. (Grafﬁti found on the wall of a concentration camp).
PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL
et us pray to God our Father, in union with Jesus his Son, and in the power of his Holy Spirit. R. Lord, hear us in your love. For the People of God: that they may worship the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in sincerity and truth. [Pause] We pray in faith.
For the world in which we live: that people may reject false gods and come to know and worship the one true God. [Pause] We pray in faith.
For all those who are sincerely searching for God: that they may find him. [Pause] We pray in faith.
That the Holy Spirit may help us in our efforts to live like Christ, and so do the will of the Father in our lives. [Pause] We pray in faith.
For local needs.
Let us pray:
Father, our source of life, you know our weakness. May we reach out with joy to grasp your hand and walk more readily in your ways. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives, and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
An American Indian ’3 prayer to God
O Great Spirit,
whose voice I hear in the winds,
and whose breath gives life to the world,
I come to you as one of your many children.
I am small and weak.
I need your strength and your wisdom.
May I walk in beauty.
Make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made,
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may know
the things you have taught your children,
the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
Make me strong,
so that I may not be superior to other people,
but able to ﬁght my greatest enemy,
which is myself.
Make me ever ready to come to you with straight eyes
so that, when life fades as the fading sunset,
my spirit may come to you without shame.