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The WORD. The TRUTH.

Thank God for life’s mysteries

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The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity-A, 04 June 2023
Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9 ><}}}*> 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 ><}}}*> John 3:16-18
Photo by author, sunrise at Anvaya Cove, 19 May 2023

Our Sunday gospel on this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity is one of the shortest proclaimed in the year with just three verses that may be finished in just two minutes. And yet, it contains the most popular verses from the whole Bible used in the song “Tell the World of His Love” when St. John Paul II visited our country in 1995.

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

John 3:16-18

Photo by author at the Anvaya Cove, 19 May 2023

See how these three verses powerfully summarize our Christian faith of a personal, relating God who is love himself, doing everything in love which is the very meaning of the doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity.

The word mystery is from the Greek mysterion, something hidden but now revealed by God. While it is true that a mystery is beyond human reason because it is divine, it may still be explained and understood though not fully. That is why it is described as non-logical or beyond reason but not illogical which lacks reason.

Most of all, a mystery is not a problem to be solved because it simply cannot be solved at all. In fact, we need to keep mysteries like secrets because mysteries give meaning and depth to our very existence, to our lives. This is the problem with so many people these days lacking mysteries in life when everything about them is shown, even overexposed in the social media. Perhaps that is why so many people are losing meaning in life because they no longer have depth as everything is bared and opened. Life has become so artificial for many not realizing that the most wonderful things in life are those hidden and not seen. Like mystery of God!

Photo by author at the Anvaya Cove, 19 May 2023

There lies the beauty of mystery that is not a problem to be solved but a reality we need to accept and embrace, or better, to allow ourselves to be wrapped by it. As we try to learn and understand more of every mystery in life, especially of God and of our very selves, the more we find life meaningful, the more we appreciate it especially our gift of faith.

When we allow ourselves to be absorbed by life’s mysteries, primary of which is the mystery of God in three Persons, the more we appreciate life itself and our very selves who are in fact a mystery too to ourselves. As we move on in life, as we age and mature, we realize life is not about covering distances but going deeper within ourselves, being transformed into better selves and persons like God, loving and merciful. Eventually we realize too that each one of us is in fact an indwelling of the Holy Trinity, an image and likeness of God himself.

Here we find mystery as a call to a relationship, a communion with God and with others that is why Jesus told Nicodemus in the opening verse of our gospel today that “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.

A mystery is a mystery because it is shared. It is nothing if it is merely in itself. We are intrigued with stories and reports because they create relationships in us and with us. That is why God in himself as a mystery is a community of persons. Person implies relationship. From the Latin word persona which is a translation of another Greek word prosopon or the mask worn by stage actors/actresses to indicate their roles in a play or drama.

Remember the term dramatis personae or list of actors in a play and their roles? To a certain sense, there are three persons or personae, that is, roles in our God as we profess in our Creed: the Father as Creator of everything, the Son as the Savior, and the Holy Spirit as the Sanctifier. With God, his persona is eternal while in drama or play, it is temporary.

The more we enter into relationships, the more we relate with other persons, the more we discover the many mysteries of this life, of God because we sooner or later find out we in our selves and humans are not enough. Things cannot relate no matter how hard Steve Jobs and his successors tried their best to design Apple gadgets that conform to human form to give them a sense of relating. Not even animals nor plants no matter how intimate we grow closer to them. Only God suffices.

Photo by author at the Anvaya Cove, 19 May 2023. Though I do not know how to swim, I have always loved the beach where everything and me becomes one in God like the sky that is so far and yet so close. A mystery so lovely!

That is the good news of this Sunday – our awesome and all-knowing, all-powerful God opening himself to us to enter into a personal relationship in him and with him through his Son Jesus Christ who sent us the Holy Spirit to enable us in this sacred mystery.

In sending us Jesus Christ his Son, God took the initiative to be close to us. In fact, closest to us as our breath in sending us the Holy Spirit.

Every time we think of God, when we marvel at him and his creations, the more we find ourselves so different, even too distant from him while at the same time we also feel and experience in the most unique manner how closest we are to him. That is one of life’s most profound and deepest mysteries when are so surprised to our very core of our being that despite our sinfulness and worthlessness, we are still so loved and cared for by God. Difficult to explain but go back to our lowest moments in life when suddenly we sighed for a brief relief that amid our pains and tears, God suddenly comes to comfort us like when Moses met God face-to-face at Mount Sinai.

Having come down in a cloud, the Lord stood with Moses there and proclaimed his name “Lord.” Thus the Lord passed before him… Moses at once bowed down to the ground in worship.

Exodus 34:5-6, 8

Note that God is called “Lord” or “Adoni” in Hebrew because the Jews do not speak out loud the name of God spelled as YHWH, or Yahweh as we say. It is interesting to know that the first letter for God in Hebrew, Yoda, is pronounced like a breath, yahhh. Because that is who God is, our breath, our life, so closest to us but we rarely recognize him because we are so busy with our selves and many endeavors.

That is why I always insist until now to everyone especially seminarians to seriously and faithfully do the sign of the Cross which is more than a prayer but an expression of the mystery of the Trinity not far from us. Every time we make the sign of the Cross properly, that is when we let our selves be wrapped by God and his mysteries.

Photo by author, Anvaya Cove, 05 January 2023.

In the sign of the Cross, God comes closest to us in our very selves and body, relating to us in our head being the Father who is over and above us always, the creator of everything; as the Son who became human like us born by the Virgin Mary passing through her womb, experiencing everything we went through except sin; and as the Holy Spirit on our shoulders giving us balance in this life.

See that at the resumption of Ordinary Time last Monday, we transition to Ordinary Sundays today and next week celebrating the two most important doctrines and mysteries of our faith, the Most Holy Trinity and the Incarnation of Jesus which is what is next Sunday’s Body and Blood of Christ is all about.

Today we reflect on the highest truth of our faith, the mystery of one God in three Persons to remind us that our faith is more than knowing the teachings but most of all of relating in love and mercy, kindness and service like God. Finding that mystery of the Trinity in ourselves leads us to finding God in others too. Amen. Have a blessed week.

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