02 June 2012

EACH OF US A MYSTERY

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Mt 28:16-20 (Dt 4:32-34, 39-40 / Ps 33 / Rom 8:14-17)

                             Persons are gifts of God to me
that come all wrapped so differently
Some so loosely, others so tightly
But wrappings are not the gifts.

I am a gift of God to me
Do I accept the gift I see?
I am a person and for this reason
A wonderful gift of love

I am a gift to others, too
That must be giv'n to you and you
We are all persons, gifts to be shared
So let's have a grand exchange of gifts

I like this song – easy to memorize, easy to sing but speaks the truth well about the mystery of persons, you and I included.  Each of us is a mystery.  No wonder because we are gifts from the most mysterious of all: God Himself.

People nowadays have a very limited understanding of what a mystery is.  Most of our young people understand the word “mystery” only in relation to solving something unknown.  That is not “mystery”.

A mystery is not a problem to be solved.  Problems seek for a solution while mystery begs for enlightenment.  Problems can be solved with finality but a mystery is always far beyond the complete grasp of human finitude.  There can be no last word about a mystery, but problems can be dismissed after they are solved.  That is why a problem requires skills and knowledge while a mystery demands faith which is best expressed by the submission of the intellect and by heartfelt trust and confidence in the very mystery itself.

Persons are not only gifts.  They are mysteries, too.  They are mysterious gifts.  We experience this first-hand when we realize that the longer we are acquainted with people, the little we actually know them.  Our family members, relatives, and friends surprise us every now and then – a clear reminder that there is always more about them that awaits our discovery, our understanding, our appreciation.  We even talk about re-discovering one another and re-inventing the self.

We hate being stereotyped.  We ought not to stereotype others, too.  Thus, we must accept that understanding people is indeed a lifetime’s task.  Should that surprise us?  We are God’s gift to others.  We came from Him.  We are His masterpieces.  And 1 Jn 3:20 tells us, “God is greater than our hearts.”  Infinite that He is, we must be infinite, too, to fully understand His mystery.

But to say that we do not know God simply because He is THE Great Mystery is not at all truthful.  God revealed Himself to us, and His mystery invites us to venture into the endless task of growing in the understanding and appreciation of His very life.  The more we know God, the more we do not know Him.  The more He satisfies us, the more we hunger for Him.  The more we find Him, the more we search for Him.  The final word about God is simply not in our human vocabulary.  The Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity focuses our attention on this truth and inspires us not to abandon the adventure of knowing, loving, and serving God better.  Trinity Sunday teaches us that sharing in the life of God – which is our ultimate goal – begins, and is continuously and timelessly renewed, in our reflecting on and understanding the very life of God.

Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, is our only access into the mystery of God.  In Jn 14:9, Jesus said to Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”  In Col 1:15, St. Paul declares that Jesus is the image of the invisible God.  Truly, Jesus is God’s quest among us.  In making our journey to God we cannot begin with anybody else but Jesus.  Thus, the Gospel today is indeed good news to us because it echoes to us Jesus’ own promise to those who believe in Him: “I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

It does help a lot for the mystery of God to have a face, a voice, a body because otherwise God would totally be unknown to us.  Without any physical appearance, God would not only be the “Totally Other” but also the “Totally Unknown”, and we would not be able to meaningfully relate to Him.

Jesus is the physical presence of God in our midst, but He is more than God’s face, voice, and body.  He is also the love and life of the mystery of God.  To look on Jesus is to begin to understand and appreciate the mystery of God.  For, as Mt 11:27 teaches us, “no one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”  And in Jn 14:6, Jesus declares further, “…no one comes to the Father except through Me.”

But one does not come to faith in Jesus simply by looking at Jesus just as knowing that Jesus is the only way to the Father does not automatically bring one to the Father.  We need the Holy Spirit to believe in Jesus.  In 1 Cor 12:3, we read, “…no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.  Thus, the relevance of celebrating, prior to Trinity Sunday, the Solemnity of Pentecost.  We reach the Father via Jesus and we believe in Jesus through the Holy Spirit.  Hence, we see that the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity is at the heart of our life and faith as Christians.  This explains why we start and conclude everything in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

God is a mystery.  No wonder, each of us is a mystery, too.  The second reading today reminds us of our highest dignity: we are children of God!  Moreover, it stresses the point that we have been given the privilege of inheriting the glory of God.  No matter who we are, no matter what we’ve been, no matter what we’ll be, the truth does not change: we were created in the image and likeness of God Himself (Cf. Gn 1:27).  Further, St. Augustine wrote, “Since God became human, we can be sure that in everything human we can find something of the divine.”  Thus, each of us is a mystery in himself or herself.

It should not surprise us, therefore, that it takes us a lifetime to really know and understand one another.  But do we really go out of our way to unravel one another?  Do we respect one another’s self-revelation?  Are we generous with our time that is needed in knowing and understanding one another?  Or are we rather quick to stereotype one another?  Do we easily dismiss others because of the negative impressions they create in us?

Caritas Christi urget nos (2 Cor 5:14).  The love of Christ urges us to deepen our understanding of Him, and consequently the very life of God as well.  The love of Christ also moves us to know, understand, and appreciate one another better.  Should it not?

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