June 19, 2018, 2:17 pm
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The Triune being in love

THE eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

***

In the Old Testament, we have come to know the God of Jesus Christ even if only in words. This is the part of the Bible where we read how God, for the very first time in history, reveals himself in a personal way-both what God does in the world (‘economic Trinity,’ as theologians say) and who God is (‘immanent Trinity’). It is in the Old Testament that we learn that God is the creator of all, the parent whom later we confess as “Abba, Father” (today’s Second Reading). The same Testament narrates that God summons a people to form a personal relationship with him by making a covenant. Thus we can speak today of the Church as “a people brought into unity from the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Lumen Gentium, no. 4). We have come to know even his name. God’s name (YHWH) stands for his ever-presence among his people and for One who will be there always. The Gospel reading for today, said to be a baptismal formula of the early Church, professes faith in that same name (and not name) of God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and who is to be eternally present in world through Jesus (“I am with you always until the end of the age”).

“Because he [YHWH] loved your ancestors,” so Moses reminds the Israelites as he ends the first of his three speeches in the Book of Deuteronomy (First Reading). It is the first time in the Bible that the word ‘love’ (Hebrew ’ahab) is used for God. The Israelites are on the plains of Moab waiting to cross over the river Jordan to start life as a nation. Moses recalls for them how they got to this point in their journey, after spending forty years or one generation in the wilderness. Every good thing they have experienced and will experience is due to God’s love toward Israel. Moses even tells them that it was God Who personally (literally, “with his face”) brought them out of Egypt. It may sound corny today, but the reason Moses gives is because of love-God’s love. This assertion comes centuries before the New Testament tells us that “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8) and before modern theologians would suggest that we may comprehend better the wondrous mystery of the Holy Trinity through the affirmation that God is One but also a Triune Being in love.

It is not unfounded then to think that every creation, not only the human being (much less the baptized only), bears the mark of the Holy Trinity. Here we can reread what Moses tells of God to his people: “You must now acknowledge, and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on the earth below.” The author of the Book of Wisdom, the last written book in the Old Testament, says it best: “For you [God] love all things that are.”

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– Fr. Randolph C. Flores, SVD
– (May 27, 2018)
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