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June 11, 2017

Sunday of the Most Holy Trinity

 

In approaching the mystery of the Trinitarian life, the Liturgy gives us these few verses of the third chapter of the Gospel of John: it’s the chapter that tells of the nocturnal meeting between Nicodemus and Jesus, and their dialogue on the new life that is given to those who are born again from above, by the Spirit.

Now it is Jesus who speaks, and Who leads Nicodemus slowly but surely to the heart of the mystery of the life of God.

It’s here, for the first time in John’s Gospel, that Jesus uses the word love.

The evangelist has already said many things about God: in the Prologue, for example, He spoke of life, light, grace, truth (Jn 1:1-18); but here, wanting to speak of God and His intimate life, these words are not sufficient and Jesus uses the lexicon of love, that alone can open a door on who God is.

God is one who loves, and who loves the world (Jn 3:16). He has not simply created the world to then abandon it, to lose interest in it. He created it and loved it, or rather He has remained in an absolute bond with it, has accepted it decisively in His own life. This is to love.

Just as in the Trinity, life is a continuous receiving of the Other and devoting one’s life to the Other, in the same way God always keeps on receiving us in Himself, He establishes a relationship of love with everyone. And this is what makes us live.

Jesus does not only say that God loves, but He also tells us how much God loves: “God so loved the world as to give his only Son” (Jn 3:16).

Also, beginning with our daily experience, it is normal that whoever loves gives gifts to the one loved.

God, on the other hand, does not simply give something, but gives totally His very self, His own Son, His own life.

That is, God receives us in such a conclusive way as to die for us, because to receive is to open oneself in a total gift for the other, to make a place within oneself so that the other can live.

Love, in God, is a total self-donation, even when this self-donation involves losing all, sacrificing life, dying for the other.

This life, God gives without ever taking it back and without expecting anything in return: Jesus, in His dialogue with Nicodemus, does not say that this gift has an end, has conditions, has privileged recipients.

No, what God gives is given forever and for all, without anyone deserving it to be able to obtain it: Jesus’ death on the cross is the seal of this gift without return.

And it is precisely through this definitive gift that God can create an eternal, indissoluble bond with us; a bond that does not depend on our fickle will, but on His final choice of communion. God could not do otherwise.

And this is why we are alive: “so that whoever believes in Him does not die, but has eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

The purpose of this gift is that we live His very life.

That is, we live like Him a life of acceptance and love, and to the extent that this will happen, then we will die no more, because whoever loves lives a life that cannot die.

In the face of this gift, one can choose whether or not to receive it, whether or not to open oneself to life.

God will not judge his choice: “God did not sent the Son into the world to just the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (Jn 3:17). Yet judgment cannot be avoided, nor cannot it be delayed.

There where man opens himself to love, he opens himself from now on to a saved life; he emerges from the night and enters life. And the other way round, the man who rejects the gift puts himself outside of life; he just puts himself under condemnation.

By his choice, he renounces a life of communion and will be alone: sooner or later he will have to eliminate the other to affirm himself.

Whereas the one who opens himself will have the most precious gift by which to ride the waves of life: not only will he have God, on Whom he leans, but he will have some brothers who share fellowship with him.

And the gifts of one will also be gifts of the other.

+ Pierbattista

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