Dear One and All,
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. With such a Feast as this one, we might be tempted to think… ‘Well, it’s all a bit of a mystery, and far too deep for me, and I’m not sure where to start understanding it, so perhaps I’ll come back to it another time’. Yes! It is indeed difficult … and mysterious … having provoked some of the greatest thinkers in the world to offer explanations. In reaping the benefits of their efforts, we come to realise the immeasurable depths of our creative, redeeming and sanctifying God.
Let’s briefly look at God’s Word. In our first Reading from the Old Testament – the Book of Exodus, we read that our God is ‘full of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness’ in other words God is Almighty, or Almighty is God! However, it would do us well to examine the symbolism of ‘mountains’ in Scripture, so that we can enter more into the minds of our ancestor’s in faith, and then we can get in touch with the experience of God’s Greatness. In doing this, we will discover that an understanding, and feeling of ‘the Sacred’ or ‘the Divine’ belongs deep down within the ‘being’ of all Humans.
There has been, there is, and will continue to be an inner curiosity within humanity to explore, and climb Mountains. The mere fact of the desire to reach the summit, and endure the hardships on the way up, sustains our ascent. From my own experience of climbing Mt.Sinai in Egypt, it was exactly that! Even though it had always been my desire to get to Mt.Sinai, especially after seeing the Film in the City of The Ten commandments in the 1950’s; to actually get there, and do it, I had second thoughts when I viewed the size, and ruggedness of the Mountain of the Lord. It is not hard for us to imagine, even if we have not had the experience of climbing Mountains, to know what it could be like. These days with our Nike Trainers, Kathmandu Dacks, Gore-tex Jackets, it is still a trial making the ascent. Upon reaching the summit, the blood, blisters, sweat, and maybe tears fade away. The experience is truly ‘breath-taking’ there is that inner ‘jump’ or thrill in the pit of the stomach which speaks loudly to us and there is only one response….’Be still, and know that I am God’. It truly knocked me down! The last thing that one wants to do is talk! It is about ‘being present’ within this awesome moment,
this hallowed place, and in silent companionship with us…the sense of community is awesome!
One of the many names that our ancestors in faith had for God, or rather an aspect of God, because a word cannot contain the understanding of God except ‘The Word made Flesh, at the moment of Resurrection’ is El-Shaddai! Many of you would have heard that beautiful song with the same name, sung by Amy Grant. In ancient Hebrew, El is either a prefix or suffix for God. So in this case, Shaddai means of highest mountains. This is not just a clinical or academic name; it is born from an experience of what happens inside
oneself, when one has arrived at the summit! For the Hebrews, it is not a matter of saying…” Well, what do you think of this experience?” No way; they would say nothing! Why? Because the inner “thrill” or “tremble” or “Quake” may I say, says it all! The experience takes the ‘breath-away”, we then say that it is a ‘breath taking”
experience. That is what it is to know in the experiential way what it is like to be in the presence of Almighty God, as we heard in our first reading. It also opens up the experience to ‘sense’, the ‘hallowed ground’.
Remember, the many moments in Scripture where that GLORY OF GOD has been manifested? Just to run through some experiences; the Burning Bush encounter in Chapter 3 of Exodus…. “Moses, take off your Sandals, for you are on Holy Ground…” What makes the ground Holy? The encounter, the Theophany, the Epiphany, the manifestation which is happening within a relationship, where there is an Invitation from the Angel of the Lord, inviting a response from the person in question….from us in general. I have more to say about this in the UNDERSTANDING OF SCRIPTURE.
(He has allot to say this week, eh?)
In the Second reading – from his Second Letter to the Corinthians, St Paul calls his listeners to be united and live in peace … ‘and the God of love and peace will be with you.’ What kind of Peace is St. Paul speaking about? He is speaking about Biblical Peace, called SHALOM. Let’s do some deep sea diving into the meaning of Shalom.
Most know that the Hebrew word shalom is understood around the world to mean “peace.” However, “peace” is only one small part of the meaning of shalom. “Shalom” is used to both greet people, and to bid them farewell, and it means much more than “peace, hello or goodbye”….
According to Strong’s Concordance 7965 Shalom also means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquillity, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full. In Modern Hebrew the obviously related word Shelem means to pay for, and Shulam means to be fully paid.
Yeshua (Jesu/Jesus) is called Sar shalom, Prince of Peace, which perfectly describes the ministry and personality of our Messiah (Isaiah 9:6).
In other words, the word shalom is a mighty blessing!
Proverbs 18:21 tells us there is life or death in the power of the tongue. Therefore, whenever you employ the word “shalom” you are speaking into someone’s life all the wonderful things that shalom means!
In the meantime:
YAHWEH bless you and keep you. YAHWEH make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. YAHWEH lift up His face upon you and give you SHALOM. In the name of SAR SHALOM – the Prince of Peace. (Please note that Pope Benedict has advised the Church that out of respect for the Jewish people, and their understanding of the Divine Name, that we do not use the word Yahweh. We should use Adonai or
Lord God, when addressing God in the Scriptures) In this case, I have deliberately used the Word Yahweh, as a translatable Word which we are used to, for God. I felt that it was appropriate because I wanted to highlight the
Hebrew Shalom and Sar-Shalom )
As we look at The Trinity – we are looking at Latin word ‘Communio’ or Communion…..com, means with, Unio, means a single large pearl! Look at that! Remember the Parables of the Kingdom in Matthew….the Kingdom of God maybe compared to a person who finds a pearl of great price in a field…what does he do, he buys the whole field, so that he can contain the pearl! Wow! A Miki Moto pearl!!!!! But much more!!!!The beauty, the lustre, the colour, the spherical nature of the orb, in its completeness, it’s depth of sameness right to its core….truly a symbol of the trinity….perhaps a slightly different way of looking at it. The Church, the Living Body of Christ is called to ‘Communio’, and the inner nature of this completeness is SHALOM!
Then in John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to Nicodemus who, according to the Scriptures, had come to Him by night. This is a significant moment, because Nicodemus had literally been ‘in the dark’, searching for light and truth. In Jesus, the light of the world, par excellence, he found what he was seeking! In this important conversation, Jesus shares with Nicodemus (and with us) that it’s God’s ultimate intention that we all be gathered together as one family through the experience of salvation, freely offered to us, and hence enter into the ‘communio of God’. Therefore, by acknowledging God’s loving outreach to everyone, we are called through Baptism, and confirmed in Confirmation, to continue the Lord’s mission, empowered by the Holy Spirit which is given to us by the Father.
Jesus announced that the kingdom is here within us, but not yet complete, and it is the constant love of the Father which draws us on. Jesus’ message is life, which invites us to seek the Father. Its demands, which the Spirit will make known to us, are always new and surprising. ‘The Spirit will guide us into all truth which comes from the Father’: John 16:13. Jesus shows us the way to the Father and the Spirit guides us on our journey.
If the Feast of the Ascension reminds us that we must take the Lord’s work into our own hands, Pentecost assures us that because the Spirit is with us, such a mission is possible. The Feast of the Blessed Trinity teaches us that we must be creative, redeeming and sanctifying in our commitment to God and to one another, and our destiny is ‘communio’. ( Here on earth, as it is in Heaven)
Hence, we must be mindful that our God, is a God of surprises, inviting us to trust, to follow and to be daring in our Christian living. We must rid ourselves of doubts which tempts us to cling on, and immerse ourselves in securities which cripple our ability to live as a truth-seeking community. We are called to proclaim with loving boldness that we can do all things through Him who gives us the strength. (St. Paul). If we cling with all our might to paltry security, how can we be in solidarity with human suffering and love? If we are not imaginative in our ways of exploring, expressing and listening to God, our spirituality and life will stagnate. Today’s Feast invites us to give thanks and praise to our God, and there is no better way of doing this than through the Celebration of the Eucharist, the summit and source of life!
Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: to God who is, who was, and who is to come. Alleluia!
God Bless you and your families, and may we never forget each other in prayer.