Lectionary #166 – May 22, 2016
As a child I was fascinated by nature, as most children are, and especially taken with the night sky, that element of nature that seemed most distant and therefore most mysterious and worthy of investigation. I remember often going out in our back yard and helping my Dad set up a battered Edmund Scientific telescope and tripod that he had purchased years earlier when my older siblings were beginning school. Though the conditions were not ideal we managed to see the moon, several planets, and blurry specks that I imagine were stars or far-away galaxies.
I did not turn into the next Johannes Kepler or Carl Sagan as a result, but I gained a deep and enduring sense of marvel regarding nature, and going a bit deeper, I gained a sense of wonder over creation. I cannot help but think that my faith in God at that young age was nourished and animated in part by this wonder concerning our world and recognition of it as creation. The first reading today describes something similar: there the Proverbist speaks of God creating the world while the spirit of wisdom looked on with glee. Later the Psalmist turns to the night skies and exclaims: “When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you set in place — What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him?”
In both scripture passages the author is seized with awe over the works of God in nature because these works wonderfully serve man’s needs and because in them the observer beholds the Lord as creator, as the spirit animating all life, and as the one who, at first in hints and shadows and later more insistently, promises redemption and salvation to his children. This reflection that begins with creation thus leads the Church into a deeper examination of the creator, revealed inchoately in Proverbs and in the responsorial Psalm and brought into clear relief as Father, Son, and Spirit of truth in today’s gospel selection.
The Church devotes itself this day to praise and worship of the Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity who is our God. From the clues drawn from a child-like perception of nature to the profound words spoken by Jesus in the gospel the Church finds itself called into union with God who is a communion of persons. We are summoned to unity as a people worshipping the Lord since God is unity itself, and we who are made in God’s image and likeness must reflect that oneness if we are to be true to ourselves.
Jesus tells us today: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth”. Here we see that owing to our limitations and finite nature God revealed his triune glory gradually and introduced his plan for our salvation through a progression of various means. First the Lord employed those things that are obvious and that turn our minds to the unseen dimension of reality—such as the beauty of the stars that struck me as a child—and then we are led individually and as a people to go deeper and to open ourselves to the gift of divine revelation found in the Old and New Testaments. This in turn allows us to begin to comprehend mysteries such as the Holy Trinity; on our own we never would conceive of such things, yet aided by God’s revelation we can at least understand how a God who is three in one fashions a people for himself who are many yet one. On Trinity Sunday with humble fascination and joyful reverence let us give thanks to the God who has made us “little less than the angels” and who has set us as the crown of his creation.
—Father Edward M. Mazich, O.S.B.