Feast of the Holy Trinity Year A
Sin brings hurt, hurt entraps our heart. Only love can free us. God shows us how.
Being estranged with someone, especially a loved one, is a painful experience. Often, in a moment of human weaknesses, relationships are strained. In the aftermath, the sins of pride and anger prevail over our broken human nature. As a result, we could not bring ourselves to saying sorry; or we could not forgive. As days extended into weeks, weeks into months, months into years, we drift further apart. We may pretend it does not matter; we may pretend that we have put the matter behind us. But in truth, we are only hiding our hurt. That is what sin does to us – it hurts us, it hurts someone we love. The more special the other person is to us, the more it hurts. The more we love that person, the more painful it is.
Not only can we be estranged with each other, we can also be estranged from God. While the Israelites were wondering in the desert, Moses went up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments from God. While Moses was away, the people grew restless. They made themselves a Golden Calf and started worshipping it. Moses returned with the Ten Commandment inscribed on two tablets and saw the people worshipping the Golden Calf. In his rage, Moses broke the tablets. (Ex 32:1-20) The breaking of the tablets signifies the broken relationship between the people and God. In Ex 33, we hear how Moses pleaded with God on the people’s behalf. God relented. In Ex 34:1, God order Moses to cut two new tablets on which God would reinscribe the Ten Commandments. This week’s First Reading continues the narrative. We heard how God appeared to Moses, proclaiming that He is God, “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (verse 6). The tablets were restored, the people has reconciled with God.
To heal from hurt, we need love. It is only with love that we can overcome our human weaknesses and put on humility. It is only with love that we can seek forgiveness – from God and from each other. It is only with love that we forgive each other. It is only with love that we are able to reconcile. And this is the great irony. The more we love the other person, the more it hurts. Yet it is only with love that we can truly heal.
God is love (1 Jn 4:8). God doesn’t just “do” love” He is love. While we humans can love someone a bit more and another a bit less, God can only love completely and unreservingly. Love is the very nature of our Trinitarian God. God the Father pours out His love completely to the Son; likewise, the Son pours out His love completely to the Father. This eternal and perfect exchange of love between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. In the Second Reading, Paul explains it this way: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you” (verse 13). If this sounds familiar, it is because we hear this each time we attend mass. It is a call to communion. In other words, we are called to come into communion with our brothers and sisters in the same way the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are in communion with each other. This is the reason why our Lord Jesus said, “when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” (Mt 5:23-24)
Have I come to the Lord’s table offering gifts while still bearing grudges against a brother or a sister? If I do, then my heart is not at peace. With humility and love in my heart, let me pray for the God of love to enter my heart, so that I may seek and give forgiveness, so that we may be in communion again. We are called to the humility that our Lord Jesus has shown us: “though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross” (Phil 2:6-8). Our Lord died to Himself to show us how to love. We are called to do that same.
Sin brings hurt and hurt entraps our heart. And until we can reconcile and enter into communion with our brothers and sisters again, sin will continue to enslave us in this way. We need the grace of God to be able to take that first step towards reconciliation. This is the reason Jesus came to us. As the Gospel this week famously said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (verse 16)
May the peace of our Lord be with you.