When I first read the Gospel for this week, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, I was surprised by the passage the Church had chosen. I assumed it would be something similar to John 14, where the Lord says, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” Or a few verses later, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.” With these two verses, we have clear indication of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In place of the passage like the above, the Church instead gives us God’s reason for the Incarnation. In response to Nicodemus, Jesus reveals that “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son. . . . Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Though I may have had different expectations, in truth, the Church could not have chosen a more perfect Gospel for our understanding and worship of the Triune God.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the Spiritual Exercises presents an image for the eternal moment in which God sends the Son. He writes:
Here it is how the three Divine Persons gazed on the whole surface or circuit of the world, full of people; and how . . . they decide in their eternity that the Second Person should become a human being, in order to save the human race. And thus, when the fullness of time had come, they sent the angel St. Gabriel to Our Lady.
What becomes visible and understandable to us is the reason the Father sends the Son. He is moved that we be saved, that is, God is moved by love of humanity. In the face of humanity’s suffering God does not remain silent and still. Rather God acts and acts for our benefit. As Christians, we truly have an “embarrassment of riches.” The revelation of God in Jesus Christ and our freedom to receive it through the Holy Spirit draws a picture of God that is beyond our notions of goodness, beauty, compassion, mercy and love. That God gives God’s very self for us is the “pearl of great price.” His gift of his infinite love is our most vital and precious possession. Through the Incarnation, we are also able to see more clearly the type of God our God is.
When God became flesh in Christ, he became “the image of the unseen God” for us. It is only through the Lord that we are able to proclaim as St. John did, that “God is love.” And we know this because in Jesus we see and experience that we are being loved. This allows us to glimpse the life within the Triune God. As a communion of relations, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in pure act, is perfect and eternal love. When we are created by Father, Son and Holy Spirit we are created by this communion of love. This means that in being made and formed by the One God in Three Persons, we are made and formed by love. Sometimes we may wonder what it’s all about, what’s the meaning of life? The answer emerges from where we come – if made by love then we are made for love. It is for this that John can write in his Epistle: “Let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.” If “God is love” then rejoice and be heart-filled, for you are children of perfect, eternal love.