Sunday, June 15, is the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity.
Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9; Daniel 3:52-56; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18
The readings remind us that God is head over heels in love with mankind. But this should be no surprise: God’s love is the overpowering, defining characteristic of all of reality.
On Trinity Sunday, the Church reminds us just how great the love of God is. Our God really is Three, and really is entirely one, because God is love.
The fact that God is a Trinity of Persons has imparted its stamp on all of creation.
When we are struck by the power of natural beauty — by the beauty of the ocean or the loveliness of the woods on a hike or the pretty twinkling stars in the night sky — it is the cosmic order that strikes us, the unity of Being, Truth, Love, Goodness and Beauty.
Louis Zamperini, whose remarkable story of survival in World War II is told in the book Unbroken, found God while adrift on the Pacific Ocean. He saw the beautiful harmony of nature and realized in a flash that God is real, God is good and that this truth was the foundation of everything else.
That experience was enough to bring him back to God, despite the terrible sufferings he had to endure in POW camps.
Today’s readings show how all of us have experienced this love.
In the first reading, Moses has an encounter with God. The whole Trinity is represented. First, there is the pillar of cloud symbolizing the Holy Spirit. Then, there are the stone tablets, the word of God, a symbol of Christ, who writes his law on our hearts. Last, there is God’s revelation of his name from God the Father: “The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.”
In the second reading, we hear the oldest Trinitarian greeting of the Church. St. Paul asks that God be “with all of you,” but he doesn’t just say God. He says: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” — that is, the generous outpouring of gifts from God the Son — “and the love of God” — that is, the gracious kindness of God the Father — “and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” — that is, the constant companionship of God the Holy Spirit — “be with all of you.”
And then, in the Gospel, we hear the great verse of God’s love, John 3:16: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
God loves us more than fathers and mothers love their children. He loves us more than a groom loves his bride. He loves us even though we have been unfaithful to him at times.
God’s love is like that. Even the extremes of suffering such as Louis Zamperini experienced can pale in comparison to the immensity of God’s love.
The constant pull of God’s love draws us into communion with him, making us part of the great unity we see in the Trinity, in whose image we were made.
Tom and April Hoopes write from
where Tom is writer in residence at