From the Archives of Fr. Metzler’s Homilies: Trinity Sunday, Cycle A

Throughout today’s Gospel and in fact throughout all of his Gospel, John the evangelist tells us that what he has written has been done so that we may come to believe in Jesus, the Son of God, and so, have life in His Name. And to help us come to this belief, he talks about people like us — some who believe, some who half-believe, some who refuse to believe. Today’s gospel passage is part of the story of Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Jews, who comes to Jesus ‘at night’ and who represents those of us who hold back, and so never completely leave the darkness to enter the light and love of Eternal Life.

The very first sentence of this passage is that verse so well known as John 3: 16 — summarizing John’s entire gospel about the meaning of Jesus and the meaning of our human existence: “God so loved the world” it says, “that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish, but might have eternal life.”

In each Sunday gospel, Jesus makes the Father’s truth and love present in the world through the power of the Holy Spirit. Every good work we do is our chance to share in Christ’s mission of making the Father’s truth and love present in the world because we share Christ’s Spirit. Each time, we experience peace and joy in living in communion with the divine love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The gospel of Trinity Sunday reminds us of the reality which Jesus shares with us every time we hear the gospel. That reality is the ‘world’ which God loves so much as to give it his only Son. We are that world — human beings tragically alienated from God, alienated from each other, alienated from our own deepest personal identity as children of God. This is the world described in the first chapters of Genesis in the story about Adam and Eve, in so many of the stories of the evening news on television, in our own experience of life.

And we are children of God, every one of us. We know that, and that’s why it so breaks our heart to hear of those times when we human beings do not act like God’s children. We feel it most in the great tragedies that we hear every night on the news, more today, it seems, than ever before.

Particularly this year, when many in our world seem to prefer darkness to light, when so many ignore the terrible sufferings of such great disasters throughout our world, we need to acknowledge our oneness as God’s children with prayers of steadfast hope. God still does love the world. And we can still come out of its dark night to accept His only Son, whom he has given to us so that we might have life in Him.

But it is equally as true in more personal ways – in the ways we slight our own brothers and sisters at times, or even carry grudges and resentments toward them for months or even years. And in the way we make off-handed racial and ethnic slurs, fully expecting a response of humor or approval.

It continues on and on. Wars are only the ultimate conclusion of the hatred and contempt we carry in our hearts every day. We who are all children of the One God, the Loving God, the Creator God of us all. We hear it again. “God so loved the world.. that we, all His children, might have Eternal Life. Only in His light and in His life can we enjoy peace among ourselves and within ourselves, a peace that truly surpasses all human understanding.   (Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B)


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