The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Reading 1 EX 34:4B-6, 8-9
Responsorial Psalm DN 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56
Reading 2 2 COR 13:11-13
Gospel JN 3:16-18
The striking thing about the readings for Trinity Sunday is also the consoling thing. The prayer of Moses should be one to which we also turn, especially because we have way to do that through the Sacrament of Reconciliation: “This is indeed a stiff-necked people, Lord, yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own.” The second reading sounds a similar theme, as Paul exhorts the rest of us to “Mend your ways” and “encourage one another.” To cap the readings with the passage from the Gospel according to Saint John that contains what is arguably the most famous verse in the Bible is almost too much — but oh, what welcome words of love found there!
All three readings can be paraphrased fruitfully: From Moses, we learn to beg the mercy of God because we have the privilege of doing so. From Paul, we learn how to live in a way that shows that love is real. From John, we learn why the insights offered by Moses and Paul are even possible. Each reading complements the others. Catholics with a fondness for apologetics might also note that while John writes that whoever believes in the Son of God will not be condemned, he is not making an argument for “faith alone,” because to do that he would have had to contradict what he writes a bit later in the “Bread of Life” discourse. The bottom line: we cannot earn grace, but we are urged to prepare our hearts for it. Which is why (I think) Paul writes to the Corinthians in an “if/then” style: (If) you mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, [and] live in peace, (then) “the God of love and peace will be with you.” In other words, like so many other parts of Scripture, the readings today are both challenging and reassuring. Thank God for that!