Bible Reflection (26 May 2024)

Feast of the Holy Trinity Year B

Deuteronomy 4:32-34,39-40
Romans 8:14-17
Matthew 28:16-20

Let us open ourselves to experiencing God through the Holy Trinity.

In the realm of faith, we experience doubt from time to time. Have we ever said to ourselves, if God would perform this or that miracle, I would believe. But we know that God often does not respond to such a request. Why doesn’t He? Why wouldn’t God accede to my request and put it beyond doubt for me? The truth is, miracles does not convert hearts.

In the First Reading, Moses explained to the people how God has manifested Himself in unprecedented ways to the people: “Has any people ever heard the voice of a god speaking out of a fire, as you have heard, and lived? Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by terrifying displays of power, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?” (verse 33-34) Indeed, time and time again, God has demonstrated His presence to the people. Yet, in spite of the many miracles, the people fell easily into unfaithfulness – they grumbled against God for the lack of food, the lack of drink, the unsatisfactory living conditions, they even erected themselves a golden calf to take the place of God! The unfaithfulness would continue for generations, right until the days of Jesus. In Gospel days, in spite of the many miracles that Jesus performed, many hearts remained unconverted. So much so that at the instigation of the chief priests, they demanded that Jesus be put to death! In the Gospel this week, we read of the disciples’ final physical encounter with Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. We read, “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” (verse 16-17) Imagine this, in spite of all the miracles Jesus has performed, in spite of Him rising back to life, the disciples still doubted. Even in our days, we are not short of miracles. There were the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano and the miracle of the dancing sun in Fatima, just to name two. Yet, has the world been converted? Far from it! In fact, the world today is more secular than ever! Indeed, while miracles defy reasons, they do not convert hearts. This is because reasons alone do not convert hearts.

So, how do we convert an unbelieving heart? The only way is for our hearts to experience God. In other words, we need to experience the love and mercy of God. Once a heart experience that, then miracles and intellectual discourse can play a role in further strengthening the conviction of the heart. But even without miracles or clever arguments, the heart is already converted. W feel a closeness to God like a baby to a nursing mother. Just like a baby being nursed, no further reasoning or explanation is necessary to convince the baby of the love of the mother. As there is already a heart-to-heart experience of tenderness and love. It is as St Paul said in the Second Reading: “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (verse 15-16)

My dear brothers and sisters. The truth is, faith cannot be taught. It is a free gift from God. We acquire faith not through seeing miracles or in-depth study. We acquire faith through willing our hearts to experience God. In this regard, the community, that is the body of Christ, has an important role to play. We each have a role to help our families, friends and others in our faith community to come closer to Jesus. Indeed, this is how faith and love propagate. So, how do we helping each other acquire faith? We must witness to God’s love and mercy in our lives; we must witness to how our lives have been transformed by Him. But to do this, we ourselves must have faith in the first place. Indeed, we cannot witness to something that we are not. In other words, we cannot inspire faith in others if we do not have faith ourselves. In other words, it is only with faith that we can carry out the command of Jesus in the Gospel this week: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” (verse 19-20)

This week, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity. We celebrate the Father the Creator, the Son the Redeemer and Holy Spirit the Sanctifier. Through better appreciation of this mystery, we can become more receptive to God, to let Him transform us and those around us. We experience the Father through the marvel of life itself. We experience the Son through His mercy, forgiveness and redemptive sacrifice. And last but not least, the Holy Spirit continues to lead us deeper into God’s truth.

My dear brothers and sisters. Today, let us open our hardened hearts to conversion, by opening ourselves to experiencing God through the Holy Trinity. Amen.