The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, as depicted in this stained glass image found in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, West Trenton, will be celebrated May 30.
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, as depicted in this stained glass image found in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, West Trenton, will be celebrated May 30.
Gospel Reflection for May 30, 2021, The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

As Moses addresses the Israelites in the great speech that is the Book of Deuteronomy, he reminds them, through clear reminiscences, of the great works that the Lord worked in their midst and on their behalf. While specifically focusing on the exodus events, we can clearly see that Moses is thinking of the totality of the covenants from Abraham to their day. Serving as more than a summary of the past, however, this address of Moses also provides a sense of hope moving forward. God has indeed done great things for them, not for any merit of their own, but because he chose them as the people of the first covenant.

God’s unbounded love, mercy, and blessings will continue to pour out upon the people, upon their land, and on all of their endeavors, if they yet remain faithful to the covenant he has made with them. While the earlier manifestations with the covenant – that is through Abraham and, in a primitive way with Noah – came as free gift, the Lord is now forming a people, forging a nation, and establishing a legacy-in-the-world. This is expressed through the demands of covenantal laws as handed down at Sinai. If only they follow the law, then the Lord will never cease to act on their behalf. If, only …

From the very beginning of time, our propensity to sin, the selfish desire to choose our own way and to abandon the ways of the covenant is a characteristic of human history. This was certainly evident as Moses spoke those words in the desert and it remains true as we reflect on Scripture this today. Moses wasn’t naïve. He knew how many times the people had abandoned the Lord during their sojourn in the desert. Any quick perusal through the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers will show numerous occasions when the people who lived through and witnessed these mighty acts of God chose instead to prefer their own way to his. Moses knew that they were not far away from forgetting all that the Lord had done for them as they settle in the Promised Land and the events of Exodus fade into the memory of a distant past.

While the Lord God often and sometimes with firm hand, chastises the people for abandoning him and his covenant, the Lord never forsakes that covenant, and continues in his desire to extend that covenant to all people. It is through the Incarnation of the Son, the very act of God himself becoming a human being that God reveals the fuller sense of his desire to enter into a covenant with all people.

Even as Jesus announced the saving action of God, and performed mighty works of healing, even raising the dead to life, the people rejected the possibility of God making himself known to his people. So, of course, we turned aside and rejected the Son, nailing him to the cross. Humans thought that they had accomplished the ultimate act of rejection of God, but much as we might desire to do so, God remains as God, and it is our desire to be like him, even to replace him, that brings our downfall. Through the power of the resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the church, God’s desire to covenant all people to himself remains manifest in the world.

Today human beings, especially the secularized Western world, prefer to be their own deity and to claim for themselves the privileges of divinity. This is not new – we saw that already accounted for in the account of the Tower of Babel – but it continues to take a herculean grip on the human psyche. It is not so much that we do not believe in the power of God, but rather that we want to exercise that power for ourselves. We have created idols out of the state, out of ideologies, and out of historical memory and revisionism. War and division replace peace and justice – the work of the Kingdom of God.

The work of the Blessed Trinity is to draw all people into relationship with God through the power of God’s presence in the world as manifest through the church, as we proclaim the Gospel and confect the sacraments. We are called to consecrate – to set aside and make holy – our lives and the gifts that the Lord bestows upon us, so that we might faithfully proclaim the loving and merciful God to a self-important and sinful world.

Father Garry Koch is pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel.