CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 September 2018

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God is not far

We do not have exclusive right to faith in God. However, the assertion that, in the one God, there is a paternity, filiation and a gift of love is specific to Christianity. With an abstract term, not biblical and certainly inadequate, we call this mystery, Trinity.

 Will it be possible for man to explore this unfathomable secret? “We are barely able to know about the things of earth, and it is a struggle to understand what is close to us; who then may hope to understand heavenly things?”
 (Wisdom 9:16). There are glimpses of this mystery in the bible that are presented to us. 

 God as we know through the bible is one who does not know solitude. He makes his people get out of Egypt “to live among them” (Exodus 29:46). The tent of meeting, that accompanied the Israelites during the Exodus, was the sacramental sign of this presence. Even when they became disloyal and were deported to Babylon, through the prophet Ezekiel, he went on to promise: “I will live among the Israelites forever” (Ezekiel 43:7). The Lord was acting like a man who falls madly in love. 

 The highest manifestation of this need that God experiences in staying with people was when he “dwelt among us and we have seen his glory” (John 1:14). God has not only pitched his tent among us, but he offers his sonship to us allowing us to share the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Peter defines the difference between the sonship of the Only Begotten, Christ, and ours. He does this by using the image of adoptive sonship with a right to family inheritance. Faced with this gift of love, it is completely absurd and inconceivable that anyone still fears God. “There is no fear in love.” (1 John 4:18). 

 The scene told in today’s gospel is set on a mountain in Galilee (v. 16). The disciples receive the commission to make disciples of all nations, to baptise them and teach them to observe all that Jesus commanded.  It is at this point that the call to the mystery of the divine life that we celebrate in this feast is placed. 

Stammering with our poor language we call this mystery Trinity. We are not called to give adherence to an abstract concept, to profess a cold formula, but to sing a grateful hymn to God for the gift he has made of his life. Our fate was death but, “God gives us, by grace, life everlasting” (Romans 6:23). Then the shout of joy emerges from our lips: “we are called children of God, and we really are! (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). 

   The promise of the Risen Lord to his disciples, who are about to take their first, tentative steps of mission is, “I am with you always, even to the end of this world” (v. 20). The Gospel of Matthew ends as it had begun, with the call to Emmanuel, the God with us, the name by which the Messiah was foretold by the prophets (Matthew 1:22-23).

 The God in whom we Christians believe is not far. He is the “God with us.”

λ Father Fernando Armellini

 

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