Sunday Scripture: Mirabile dictu! Wonderful to relate
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
By Sister Betty Jane Lillie, S.C.
Most Holy Trinity: Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40; Psalm 33:4-6, 9, 18-20, 22; Romans 8:14-17; Matthew 28:16-20
“Did anything so great ever happen before? Was it ever heard of? Did a people ever hear the word of God and live?” (Deuteronomy 4:32-33) The wonders of God’s self-revelation to His people never cease to amaze those He has called to be His own!
God’s eternal existence was made present to the world from the dawn of creation, and thus He established a relationship with the world throughout time. This Lord is the one God, and there is no other. As the process of God’s self-revelation continued, signs and wonders made His mighty works visible. In our first reading the Deuteronomist uses the theme of God’s outstretched arm to signify the works of God’s strong hand in the cause of His people. The arm was outstretched for them sometimes by His working wonders and sometimes by bringing about terrors. All of that contributed in some way to His relationship with them.
That was the reason for their need to know and to fix in their hearts that the Lord is God and there is no other. Their response to God was to keep His statutes and commandments as a way of entering into their unique interchange between the Lord and themselves. No other nation had ever heard the voice of God; no other nation had experienced such a relationship with God.
In the process of salvation history, the Christian tradition came to experience God’s presence through the Incarnation and the paschal mysteries of Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension. God’s presence continues in the Holy Spirit who remains with us for all time.
In our second reading we hear the apostle Paul saying, “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” (Romans 8:14) We are His children because we have received a Spirit of adoption through whom we call God “Father.” The Aramaic word “Abba” for Father was used by Jesus, and after Him it came into the prayer of the new church. Through the Spirit of adoption we are God’s children and joint heirs with Christ, and we share with Him in His suffering and His glorification.
When Paul came into the church he took on this tradition and carried it to the nations where he preached. In our turn we receive this Spirit, and the Spirit himself helps us in our weakness. He intercedes for us so that we may be conformed to the image of the Son. The fact that the Spirit enables this prayer in us is another sign of our adoption into the family of which Christ is the firstborn son. (Romans 8:28-29)
These thoughts find a climax in our Gospel reading that commissions us to carry the Christian message to all the nations bringing them into discipleship through baptism. To be baptized in the name of the triune God means to belong to God and to be protected by God who is with His people for all time.
With the psalmist we can pray, “Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and shield. Our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in His holy name.” (Psalm 33)
Sister Betty Jane is a member of the faculty at the Athenaeum of Ohio