Reflections for the Week of Sunday May 22, 2016 First after Pentecost (Trinity Sunday)

Scriptures: Proverbs 8.1-4, 22-31; Romans 5.1-5; John 16.12-15; Psalm 8.  Prov 8 personifies Wisdom like the Logos, the second Person of the Trinity. Rm 5 says justification by faith through grace gives peace and God’s love together with suffering for the sake of Jesus. In Jn 16 Jesus says the Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus. Ps 8 exalts the Creator who has made man and the Son of Man the head of creation.

Trinity Sunday

The day after Pentecost celebrates the three Persons of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Sprit was poured out on Pentecost in accordance with the prophecy of Joel 2.28,29. One meaning of Pentecost is the reversal of the ‘confusion’ God brought upon the builders of the Tower of Babel (Babel=confusion) so they couldn’t understand one another’s speech.The Spirit enabled the foreign visitors in Jerusalem to understand the disciples in their own language. Does this signify believers’ understanding the gospel regardless of native language? Perhaps so. The last season of the Liturgical Year has now begun with the advent of the Spirit. He is not only given once, but continuously. He is infinite and boundless and it is in giving Him away that believers show that they have received Him. Faith in Him is faith in the whole of God’s revelation. Openness and surrender to His guidance is the continuance of God’s revelation in us and through us. The Spirit makes us one in the Body of Christ. To live in the Spirit is the fulfillment of every law and commandment, the sum of every duty to each other, and the joy of everything that is. The essence of the Spirit’s purpose is love: love for God and love for others. This is the theme of the season. As the Spirit was present at Creation (Gen 1.2) hovering over the water, so the Spirit descended on Jesus (Mt 3.16) in the Jordan river suggesting a New Creation in which being is more important then doing. As in the case of Jesus, one’s life work can be destroyed but one’s life can be a great success. Indeed the destruction of one’s life work is a classic way through which God brings His servants to their final surrender. The spiritual journey becomes more demanding as one progresses but also more liberating. All creation is ours so long as we do not try to possess it. All ordinary, chronological time and eternal time intersect in the mystery of the present moment and become one. Pentecost, the crowning feast of the Liturgical Year, embodies the theological idea of divine love as taught by Jesus throughout the New Testament, especially in the Beatitudes (Mt 5.3-12), the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7), and the Summary of the Law (Mt 22.37-40). The grace of the Spirit dwelling in us means we are living in the power of the Spirit, reconciled with God, and empowered to fulfill the law of love. The liturgical season refers to the rest of our life re-defined by the possession of the Spirit. The Spirit enables us to manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5.22,23) along with meekness (obedience to God), humility (forgetting about oneself), courage (trusting in God), and perseverance. Jesus’ incarnation inaugurated the coming of the kingdom of God which is the reign of God in the world (“in the midst of you” or “within you” Lk 17.21). The Spirit gives wisdom (Prov 8) which is to understand life from God’s perspective. The Spirit justifies believers, i.e., restores a right relationship with our Triune God (Rm 5). The Spirit gives us faith in Jesus (Jn 16.13,14) and empowers us to live lives worthy of Him and pleasing to Him (Col 1.10; Eph 4.1; 5.10).

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