Sunday Scripture: Give thanks to God for He is good
June 18, 2011
By Sister Betty J. Lillie, S.C
The Most Holy Trinity: Exodus 34:4b–6, 8-9; Daniel 3:52-56; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18.
Two weeks ago, on the feast of the Ascension, we celebrated the exodus of Jesus from His historical presence on earth. Then on the feast of Pentecost we rejoiced in the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, whereby Jesus remains in the church on earth until the end of time. This week we come to the wonderful feast of the Most Holy Trinity.
Our third reading from the Gospel of John is situated in a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus in which Jesus makes the point that unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. To enter the kingdom of God through baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is to enter into a divine relationship with the Trinity to whom we thus belong.
As the evangelist says in our passage, it was because of the love of God for the world that he gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him should have eternal life. The Son was sent so that the world might be saved through Him.
The tradition of God’s presence to humankind runs through the Hebrew Scriptures, and one instance that we have in the Book of Exodus forms the core of our first reading this week. God gave Moses signs of His presence at the time He renewed his covenant with the people.
The tables of stone had been broken, but God called Moses to cut new ones, and to ascend Mt. Sinai again. Then He showed His presence in a cloud, and He proclaimed His name as “Lord” (Exodus 34:4b-6). The Lord who keeps steadfast love for His people forgave their iniquity and took them for His inheritance.
To move on to the Pauline tradition, we see Paul’s farewell to the Corinthians that contains both an admonition and a blessing. He called the community to mend their ways, to form a Christian mentality and to live in peace so that the God of peace would be with them.
His final blessing was a beautiful Trinitarian prayer, possibly reminiscent of a liturgical blessing that he used. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14).
What it teaches the faithful is that the grace of Christ leads to the love of God, and the love of God when actualized through the Spirit, brings about fellowship with God and other people.
The psalm response for this Sunday has us look to the Book of Daniel, where we find the Song of the Three Young Men who were miraculously saved from death in the fiery furnace. With them we can say, “Blessed art thou O Lord, God of our Fathers, to be praised and highly exalted forever. Let the earth bless the Lord: let it sing praise to Him and highly exalt Him forever. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever” (Daniel 3: 29, 52, 67).
Sister Betty Jane is a faculty member at the Athenaeum of Ohio.