Sunday, June 11, is Trinity Sunday. Mass Readings: Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9; Daniel 3:52-56; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18.

Maybe you think you know God. You don’t — at least not fully.

If you’re like me, you sometimes think of him as an angry judge, outraged by failing humanity and eager to act on his disappointment.

But “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him,” says Jesus in today’s Gospel.

Maybe you think of him as a critic with impossibly high standards, for whom your best is never good enough.

No. He wants you to know that he is willing to work with very little — “Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,” he says.

Or maybe you don’t have a harsh view of him. Maybe you think of him as a general spirit of benign acceptance, a kindly uncle of sorts in the sky.

Moses today teaches us not to take him for granted. He is a presence so fearful Moses has to hide from him when he passes by and gives a law so specific and permanent it can be written in stone.

He can be all of that, he learns, but still be “a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.”

The readings today teach us that God is not just our individual Lord. He is “Lord, the God of our fathers.”

God is not just a quiet, subtle presence. He is “praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”

God is not just “everywhere” in some nebulous kind of way. He is “Blessed … in the temple of your holy glory.”

God is not hiding in the past, lost in the present and hoped for in the future — he is the one who was, and is and will be to come.

In short: We tend to either think of him as too small, or too overwhelming; too undefined, or too nitpicky. We focus on one aspect of him, and the picture gets distorted. Know all of him.

God is not a force ready to break us — he is the Father longing to be followed.

God is not random divine affirmation — he is the Son who became like us to be trusted and loved.

God is not a source of solace for our souls — he is the Holy Spirit who challenges us to love.

He is three in one: Power, Mercy and Grace; Father, Son and Spirit.

We need to meet God and know who he is because we are made in his image and meant to perfect it.

In the second reading, St. Paul describes what that looks like: “Mend your ways; encourage one another; agree with one another; live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Because of who he is, that is who we are supposed to be.

 

Tom Hoopes is writer in

residence at Benedictine College

in Atchison, Kansas.

He is the author of What

Pope Francis Really Said.