Just by observing the order of the Catholic Mass; its movements, its silence, and its cadence of all those things offered, both spoken and unspoken, we should never fail to notice that the trajectory of the liturgy is union with God and because our highest expression of prayer; the Mass, is ordered towards our union with God, so should every other aspect of our life be.
Allow me to press further for a moment to not only explain the ends but also to provide images of our reality. The first reality is being that our highest expression of prayer is ordered towards our union with God; in mind, body, and soul, which is a mere blurry reflection of the unity shared between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, this life then, therefore, necessitates that we faithfully believe in the fact that God created us for His community. Otherwise, it would be a pitiful shame for us to believe in the hope of an ending that is somehow incongruent with the hope He had for us from the beginning. The second reality is that if we choose to reject the hope of God, that we be with God, then, therefore, we have by default freely chosen the hope of the Evil one and his works of disunion, division, separation, and confusion. Satan too has a liturgy for his faithful. Whereas the Divine Symphony sends us to be a Eucharistic people into the world and moves us towards holiness and, thereby, union with God, the Demonic Cacophony makes us self-absorbed and moves us towards sin and, thereby, filled with an insatiable lust for sins.
Now comes the Catholic Church in her wisdom; after we have celebrated the Feast of Pentecost – the Lord’s sharing of the Holy Spirit and His gifts with us, so that there might truly be an “us” and not merely just an “I”, and before we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi – He in us, the Church presents to us the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity; the true communion of persons and the great hope of our life.
What makes this collection of lectionary readings today so beautiful is that they are not just plain celebrations of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Certainly, if they were, that would have been wonderful and beyond praiseworthy. Rather, each of the readings is like songs about the magnanimous work of the Holy Spirit to bring us into our new life, a life that is in community and in communion with God.
In today’s First Reading from Proverbs 8:22-31, we hear about the preeminent nature of the Wisdom, who the Proverbs symbolically presents as a woman, but whom Christian revelation has understood to be the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity; also the Ruach – the breath of God; the wind, the cloud, a real person, invisible and unseen, but experienced and with the Eternal Father from the beginning, as the Proverb states, “The Lord possessed me, the beginning of his ways, the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago; from of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth.” Yet, what fascinates me most about this passage and what causes my imagination to explode is the ending, “. . . then was I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while, playing on the source of his earth; and I found delight in the human race.” How delightful is that to hear of God playing. What does that even mean? What does that even look like? God at play. What a marvelous thing to unleash upon our imagination – to consider and how we too might enter into playing with God. Being that Holy Spirit dwells in us, we should be happy that He is playful and we should learn how to participate in that playfulness He has in God’s creation.
Then the Second Reading from Roman’s 5:1-5 comes in to tell us another thing about life in the Holy Spirit, that because we have been justified in faith, the love of God has been poured into us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and, thereby, we now have in us true peace that has the capacity to overcome every hardship; rather not just overcome hardship, but to grow in faith and love through the hardships. Imagine knowing that because you have the Spirit of God dwelling in you, that every trial that comes your way, you will not only pass the test, but by passing the test you will have matriculated further into sainthood. My goodness, if we believed that, so many Catholics would be upset if their life was too comfortable. They would be righteously angry if something did not try to cause them to stumble or if the devil did not try to attack them or if they did have something to suffer.
So, it is the gift of the Holy Spirit that gives us access to the community of God, and our life in the community of God is not only a Spirit of playfulness and peacefulness but the Gospel Reading from John 16:12-15 comes to teach us that the Spirit is with us ultimately to lead us and guide us to our Eternal Father through Christ Jesus. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus informs us that the Holy Spirit will guide us to all truth, speaks to us what He has heard from the Father and Son, declare to us what is coming, He will glorify Jesus Christ, and He will declare to us what belongs to Christ. In other words, the Holy Spirit is here to make us full partakers in the community of God, so that our citizenship in that community may not be lacking or deprived in any manner whatsoever.
One way that the work of the Holy Spirit is accomplished is through the Divine Symphony where all the work of the Holy Spirit is on full display. In the Rite of Penance, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins, as Jesus said He would in John 16:8. In the Liturgy of the Word, we hear the sacred Scriptures through which the Holy Spirit speaks to us what He heard and prophetically warns us of what is coming. Through the Sacraments, in particular, the Holy Eucharist in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, all that is Christ Jesus and that belongs to Him comes to dwell in us who have received the Holy Spirit. Through the liturgy of the Mass, those who the Holy Spirit is leading to the community of God, come just a step closer by receiving Holy communion. It is Holy communion that brings us into the Holy community of the Holy Trinity. Then in the last movement of the Divine Symphony, the Concluding Rite, we who have been given citizenship in the community of God are sent out into the world to be agents of communion, so that we might bring more of the world into communion with God.
If we all only believed that we serve a God who does not want us deprived or lacking in any good thing, we would run to the Mass every day to matriculate ever so closer to our destiny and to be better equipped to serve Him, which is to be in perfect communion with the Holy Trinity.
This is just one way how the readings at Mass this Sunday connect to the liturgy and how the liturgy is forming us on how to live our lives in the world. Be in the world who you have received during the liturgy.