The readings for Trinity Sunday each highlight aspects of the Triune God. The first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy reveals the truth that there is only one God as Moses exhorts the people, “you must know and fix in your heart that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on the earth below, and there is no other.” It also draws out the truth that our one God has been seeking humanity ever since its fall, and that God desires us to be in an eternal relationship with him. He pursues all of us through the history of the Hebrew people.
Moses recounts the persistence of God’s love toward the people by asking them, “Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?” Moses is laying out the argument that God has poured himself out for them and that it stands to reason that the only fitting response is full and free obedience.
Moses states clearly, “You must keep his statutes and commandments that I enjoin on you today, that you and your children may prosper, and that you may have long life on the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you forever.” The statutes and commandments are to guide our response of love to God and to one another, assuring that our love is authentic, real and life-giving. In the end however, only God himself in Christ will be able to give the full response.
During the visitation of God become man in Jesus, God reveals himself as a Trinity. He is indeed one God, but in that oneness is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He commands this truth be brought to the ends of the earth when he says to the disciples, “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.”
God wants us to not only know him as he is truly is, but also to share life with him in accord with the way he lives. Insofar as we are made in his image and likeness, this perfects us and brings us joy.
This observance of all that Christ commanded, as life-giving as it is, is challenging, but the Lord assures us, “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Paul experienced this assistance toward eternal life within himself. He yearned to be a real son of the Father, adopted in Christ, but he also knew the ever-present reality of sin and the “spirit of slavery” to which he could regress.
He did not lose hope though, and in times of need he would cry out “Abba, Father!” Paul understood this inner cry to be not only his own but also cried out through the gift of the Holy Spirit who dwelt within him. This cry for help in suffering is a prayer the Father hears. Paul knew that “if only we suffer with him, we may also be glorified with him.” Paul was given the grace to endure and persevere.
Questions for Reflection
1. Is my love toward God and one another compatible with the statutes and commandments of God?
2. Is the One God truly the only God animating my every thought, word and deed?
Fr. Vander Steeg is pastor of St. Mary Parish, Greenville, and St. Edward Parish, Mackville.