and the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
2 Cor. 13:14
St Paul, bestows this blessing at the very end of his 2nd letter to the Christians in Corinth
The opening greeting is quite similar but not exactly the same:
To the church of God which is at Corinth:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
As mentioned, there is not much difference between the two blessings, but on the weekend when we celebrate the ‘Most Holy Trinity’, it’s interesting to note that this ancient formulae used over the centuries has obviously passed the test of time in enabling countless generations connect with our
In the first reading from Exodus, we are told that,
And the Lord descended (to Moses) in the form of a cloud,
Moses calls on the name of the Lord, and the Lord proclaims himself as,
‘a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness.’
Moses, who is struggling to keep his people strong as they journey in the wilderness towards the Promised Land, beseeches this God to journey with him and his people,
‘let my Lord come with us’
The two readings, Exodus from the Old Testament and Corinthians II from the new Testament, bear testimony to an awareness of the same God by two communities from very different ages and circumstances.
During the week, we witnessed the most astonishing T.V. footage of a most powerful nation presently experiencing turmoil on two fronts in the form of the pandemic and racial unrest. The president was filmed on TV, making his way to a recently vandalized church, and standing outside this sacred abode, he holds up the Sacred Book for a photoshoot, while the protesters are forcibly shunted away from the scene in the interests of his safety.
The deed not surprisingly attracted untold criticism from church leaders and others. His motivation for this act, only himself truly knows, but from a visual perspective he seemed to be ‘using, or could I say ‘abusing’, the name of God’ to reinforce his own standing with a certain category of people, rather than kneeling and beseeching God’s guidance and support.
During this series of reflections since Palm Sunday, I have referred on a number of occasions to the ‘meeting of opposites’: where two opposite forces such as weakness & strength, darkness & light meet and complement each other in a positive way. In the situation referred to above its quite different; here opposites collide and clash with each other. Holding up the Sacred Book and what it represents for ulterior motives while the voice of the protesters seeking justice is suppressed,
is a form of desecration
When Moses came to an awareness that the Lord was near, he
‘bowed down to the ground at once and worshipped.’
This action is reminiscent of another occasion when he approached the Burning Bush on Mount Horeb, the Lord said to him,
“Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet,
for the place on which you are standing is Holy Ground.” Exodus 3: 5
It is a mark of deep respect not to presume the ways of God. Rather, we must to be meek when approaching the Holy One, and in the doing, feel confident that we are connecting with something very delicate and precious, indeed connecting with a cord that touches our very soul and the souls of people we encounter along the way.
Tread gently for you tread on my dreams. writes the Poet
For some reason, I’m thinking of an exchange between two characters in the film
A Few Good Men
One on the men (Harold Dawson) on trial for murder, has as his defence lawyer Lieutenant (Junior Grade)Daniel Kaffee. Because the young officer seemes reckless and immature in his behaviour, Dawson initially doesn’t have much respect for him. In fact he shows outright contempt for Kaffee, refusing to salute or acknowledge him as an officer. But by the end of the trial he comes to realise, that indeed this young officer, is made of the right stuff.
Kaffee: [Stops Dawson as he is leaving the courtroom after the trial] Harold.
Kaffee: You don't need to wear a patch on your arm to have honour.
[Dawson salutes Kaffee]
Dawson: There's an officer on deck.
I’m pondering that precious link between ourselves and the Divine; it is delicate, precious and powerful. A book I’m reading at present about the life of a priest writer who grew up in Czechoslovakia when it was occupied initially by the Nazi and later by the Soviets. Up to early adulthood, he grew up in a house where religious practice was nil even though his parents were most righteous and dedicated people. During his student years he came to meet with priests and others who endured great sacrificed while ministering under the most difficult of circumstances. He takes an interest in the Christian way, and eventually converts. He writes about the day he celebrated his Confirmation.
It was a day of enormous significance for me. There was a full moon for me the night after my Confirmation. I awoke in the middle of the night, knelt down, and started to pray. And I had the feeling that I previously only had a naïve notion of what prayer is. There is an enormous difference between pious reflection on a religious topic and the moment when one addresses God from the depths of one’s heart. Similarly, but many years later, I was to discover another enormous difference; between addressing God, and silently reposing in God – in the silence of God
Tomas Halik From the Under-ground Church to freedom P 40
It’s a strange but nice coincidence that as I get this blog ready for posting this evening, I’m mindful that the first reading during the Eucharistic celebration this Friday morning resonates with Thomas Halik’s precious encounter:
Elijah feeling very isolated and rejected spends the night in a cave. He hears a mysterious voice telling him to
“Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
The presence of the Lord was not discernible in the wind or in an earthquake or in fire, After the fire, he detected,
‘a sound of sheer silence.’
‘When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.’
1 Kings 19:9-16
Celebrating the feast of the Holy Trinity, is an invitation for us to once more rekindle an inner sense that:
We walk on Sacred Ground,
for; the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
is with us all.