The Islamic Maute terrorist group besieged the Mindanao city of Marawi here in the Philippines for the last two weeks destroying lives and property of innocent citizens. A young man walked into a casino in Manila a few weeks ago and killed close to forty people. A few weeks ago, some men mowed down, killed and maimed innocent pedestrians with a truck along London bridge before going on a stabbing spree that left many dead and wounded.
Whatever the reasons for this carnage in our world today, whether they are committed in the name of religion or ideologies, one thing is clear from such destruction of lives and property – the true God is not known as He should be known in our world today. We betray our wrong view of the true God by our actions. Jesus Himself linked senseless violence in the world with a wrong idea of the true God, “The hour is coming when whoever kills you will think that he is offering service to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father, nor me.”(Jn 16:3)
Today’s Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity invites us to contemplate the true God as revealed to us by Jesus Christ. The true God is not a single person, loving Himself in an egotistic way and ruling over His creatures like a blood thirsty tyrant and dictator. Neither is the true God two persons in constant competition and fighting, compelled to settle and coexist for the sake of peace. The true God is communion of three equal divine persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, equal in dignity, power and majesty, loving each other in a way that is complete and life giving. The eternal and mutual love of the Father and the Son is the eternal source of the Spirit of Life and Love. This God of loving communion graciously goes out of Himself on a mission to share His own love and life with His creatures.
Today’s Gospel gives us a clear image of the true God. Our God loves His creatures so much that He is willing to give us His only begotten Son so that “everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” The true God loves in a life-giving way, giving Himself to us not to get something from us but so that we might have not death but His life in us. The Son, Jesus Christ, accepts His Father’s mission and comes into the world “not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him.” Jesus Christ lived first and foremost for His Fathers glory: “Christ did not please Himself: ‘The reproaches they uttered against you fell on me.’” (Rom 15:3) Jesus also lived for our own benefit, praying for us and obtaining for us the Spirit of Life to be with us always, “It is better for you that I go, because if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you…I will ask the Father and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.”(Jn 16:7, Jn 14:16) The true God is a God of personal loving communion who is on a gracious mission of communicating to us nothing but His love and life, not death.
We are created in the very image and likeness of this true God and this call to communion and mission is stamped into our very being. Today’s Solemnity invites us to ask ourselves the question, “Do we truly know the true God as we should? How do we show that we really know the true God as we should?” We know the true God when we are also humbly living in communion with God and with others and ready to make sacrifices to bring this divine life to others whom we see as having equal dignity with us.
Moses’ encounter with God in today’s First Reading led him to humble worship and to beg for the grace to have God in their company, “If I find favor with you, O Lord, do come along in our company.” He longed for a union with God that is deeper than what the Ten Commandments alone can give. Before the true God, Moses also realizes his own sinfulness as well as those of the others, “This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own.” Knowing the true God as we should, we realize our own sinfulness, our need to know and love God more, and our common bond with other sinners. We also realize our need to pray and sacrifice for others so that they too know and love God as they should.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, do we know the true God as we should? Are we living in deep communion with God today? Do we know the true God to the point that we do not let our sins or sufferings separate us from God? Is our knowledge of God true enough to move us to grow in our knowledge, love and service of God? Do we live with that conviction that Jesus, who alone offers us communion with God, will never reject those who come to Him (Cf. Jn 6:37)? Are we on a mission to make others know and love the true God more? Knowing the true God, are we ready to make sacrifices to bring others to share in this life that we have received as a gift from God? How deep is our sense of solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world? How do we acknowledge our equal dignity with all people despite our religions, color, race, sex, education, wealth, etc.? Are we on a mission to bring life to others and not death? The answer to these questions will show how true we know the true God.
We cannot say we know the true God when our communion with God is shaky and our sense of mission to make Him known and loved by others is dead. We cannot claim to know the true God if we are not filled with His life and love, longing to grow in this communion, and ready to bring this life and love, and not death, to others. We cannot claim to know the true God when we choose to kill, destroy and condemn instead of building others up in the love and life of God.
The true God offers us deep joy, the joy of being in communion with the divine persons and with each other. Our joy cannot come from having things our way all the time because we are living out of our individualistic view of God. Neither can our joy come when we choose to merely coexist with others and tolerate evil in our lives and in our world. Our inner joy comes when we know God to the extent that we begin to imitate the mystery of the Triune God that we celebrate today, when we are determined to know, love and serve God more and ready to make sacrifices so as to build others up by our words, prayers and good examples.
Mary, Our Lady of the Holy Trinity, embodies this true knowledge of God because she is the beloved daughter of the Father, the admirable Mother of the Son, and the faithful spouse of the Holy Spirit who found her joy by receiving and bring Christ to us. She will be the cause of our joy too if we take her as our own model of truly knowing God and sharing His life to others even if it means sharing intimately in the suffering of Christ like she did at the foot of the cross.
Our communion with Christ today is a communion with the Triune God and a deeper participation in the very life and love of the Triune God. Christ has died and risen from the dead so that we may know Him and that His life will be in us. If our loving communion with the true God is as true and deep as it should be, our mission to bring this life into a world of death will be so strong and selfless, and our hearts will be filled with the joy of the One true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit now and forever!!! Amen.
image: GlebStock / Shutterstock.com
By Fr. Nnamdi Moneme, OMV
Fr. Nnamdi Moneme OMV is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary currently on missionary assignment in the Philippines. He serves in the Congregations’ Retreat Ministry and in the House of Formation for novices and theologians in Antipolo, Philippines. He blogs at http://www.toquenchhisthirst.wordpress.com.