Peter stresses to the second-generation Christians that because they have not seen Jesus in the flesh doesn’t mean that they are second-rate Christians. Our sacramental experience of Christ is genuine and real. Jesus is the center of our lives. If we place anything else at the center, our lives will tilt off balance.
The Mystery of the Holy Trinity is central to our personal and public prayer and to our faith. And, yet, the very fact that we call it a Mystery means that we will never fully understand it. Let’s examine this. First, let us realize that the word “Trinity” never appears in Scripture. Trinity is what we call a “construct.” It is a word that the Church uses to try to capture an idea. It basically means three in unity. Second, we look to Jesus and His discussion of His relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Trinity is the unity of these three. The notion that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit are unique and individual and yet so united that they are one God is almost too much to think about. (Even the great St. Augustine of Hippo admitted he couldn’t totally grasp it.) And we couldn’t and wouldn’t think of it if Jesus hadn’t revealed it to us. (Matthew Chapter 28) Therefore, it is part of Divine Revelation.
The Trinity is a Mystery and we will never fully understand it, yet it has great ramifications. It helps us experience God’s love for us. The fact that we never fully understand makes us realize that there will be more surprises about God’s love for us to think about.
Today, marks the end of our daily readings from the Letter of James. It also contains the Scriptural verses used in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. James talks about the effectiveness of this prayer. This Sacrament connects us with the healing ministry of Christ. God does not abandon people in their time of pain.
James calls for patience. Any significant human achievement requires effort and painful work. The same is true for the spiritual life. A meaningful spiritual life is not something done automatically. It is the result of painful effort, planning, and sacrifice.
James urges what we might call “perspective.” Whatever we think our professional goals are, we need to put them into the perspective of the larger purpose of our life. This brings the owner of Chick Fila to mind. He owns his business to make money but closes down on what might be the most lucrative day, Sunday, because he places his business in the larger context of giving praise to God.
James lists various disorders that can affect any community: envy, quarreling, in fighting. We are taught various techniques to referee conflict but the only real cure is prayer, personal conversion, repentance and forgiveness.
Today, we are firmly, liturgically, in Ordinary Time, Week 7. The Gospel returns to Mark, the primary Gospel on Sundays in Year B. The Gospels for weekdays all follow this pattern: the public life of Jesus unfolds as told by each of the Synoptic Gospel writers staring with Mark, then Matthew, then Luke. For example. we continue with Mark through Week 9. Then, in Week 10, we go to the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry as told by Matthew. Matthew will continue through Week 21, then Luke picks up in Week 22 through the end of the Liturgical Year.