The collect for today’s liturgy reads: “God our Father, who by sending into the world the Word of truth and the Spirit of sanctification made known to the human race your wondrous mystery, grant us, we pray, that in professing the true faith, we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory and adore your Unity, powerful in majesty.”
The prayer expresses the profound love that God has for us in that He makes known to us the mystery of His divine being.
St. John the Evangelist writes in his Gospel: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life.”
God the Father sends the Son to reveal to the world his love, his very self, and in this love offers life. Today’s Gospel passage reminds us of the intimate relationship between Father, Son and Spirit. Jesus says, “Everything that the Father has is mine,” and “[The Spirit] will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” Through the Spirit he invites us to the fullness of life in the bond of love between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The first reading for today’s Mass is from the Book of Proverbs. Wisdom is personified as speaking the words. Wisdom is seen as existing before all else. The world was created through the spirit acting as “his craftsman.” When speaking of all the wonders of creation (the “vault,” the “skies,” “the foundations,” “the sea” and “waters”) he notes “I was his delight day by day … and I found delight in the human race.”
Divine Wisdom is one way by which the Spirit of the Lord is referred. In the passage Wisdom takes delight in human beings. Humanity is raised above all creation in that it delights God. In other words, God is pleased by human beings.
The concept is also reflected in the first creation account in Genesis when after describing the creation of man God finds it “very good.” Again mankind is placed above all other creation. The relationship established through creation is taken to a whole new plane through the Son of God becoming man and redeeming him.
The second reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans speaks of the peace we have with God. One way to describe “peace” is unity. When we are at peace, we are one with God. Paul sees this as accomplished through Jesus Christ. Because of this interior relationship and state we can deal with any of the challenges of life. St. Paul says: “Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
The love of God fills our being through the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit dwelling in our souls binds us to God and each other in the unity of peace.
God makes himself known to us because he loves us. What is more he invites us to share in that love that brings life. St. Bernard captures this well when he says: “How can plurality consist with unity, or unity with plurality? To examine the fact closely is rashness, to believe it is piety, to know it is life and life eternal.”
Msgr Joseph Prior is pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish, Morrisville.