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Feast of the Holy Trinity

Feast of the Holy Trinity (What is the Name of our God?) 

How do we address people with power and authority?  We might wonder about that when we are put into new situations.   

If we happen to go to court…how are we to speak to the judge, for instance.  We probably know that we are to say, “your honor.”  We don’t address the judge by their first name.  We would not say, “Yes Judie,” even if it was judge Judy.  

We know if someone retires from political office, from that point on, we address them by the highest title they have attained.  If we meet a former senator for instance we address them as Senator Smith not as mister, miss or ms.  If a person is a former cabinet secretary they are from that point forward called Secretary Jones. 

Of course, it is the same way in the military.  If someone attains the rank of general they will retain that title even after they reenter the civilian population.  All of this is part of being polite. We want to show respect.  

We want to show this deference in written correspondence as well. When we write a letter, we have a certain methodology for that.  We first put down the date and address of the person we are writing to.  We then put an opening salutation down.  If it is someone we have never met we are more careful than if it is someone that we are familiar with.  We then put down the nature of our business.  Sometimes we are just saying hello.  Other times we are making a request.  The opening salutation tells us a lot about how close we feel to the person we are writing to. 

All of this can be a template for how we pray.  Quite often, someone will say that they are uncomfortable with spontaneous prayer. Maybe that is because we are not sure how we pray in that fashion.  We could say that praying in our own words can fall in to a pattern that looks like letter writing.  We begin with a personal salutation which reflects our closeness to God.  The opening salutation might reflect our respect for God.  We might start, with the words, “Almighty God.”  If we do this says that we believe that God is all powerful.  God is in control of all things.  From the opening salutation we state our needs, our praise, our thankfulness.  We then close the prayer with a salutation.  Again, this closing salutation might speak of our feelings about God.  Do we close with your son, your daughter, your servant, your friend?  All of this tells us where we are coming from spiritually.   

Today, is the Feast of the Holy Trinity.  Most of our prayers in the Catholic Church have an opening and closing salutation.  We begin and end with the words, “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Do those words denote affinity for God?  Or do they put a distance between ourselves and God. 

When we read the first lesson from the Book of Exodus we get a sense of where God is coming from.  Moses has just come back to the mountain.  He has had an altercation with the people.  The People of Israel have committed a most grievous sin.  All of them have engaged in idolatry.  Moses angrily throws down the stone tablets on which are carved the ten commandments breaking them.  He then goes back to see God.  Moses is madBut what does God feel towards the sinful, unfaithful, Israelites. 

He appears to Moses.  He walks in procession past Moses.  What does he say? “The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.”  God tells us how he wants to be addressed. When we read the Bible we read how the writers constantly wrestle with who the God is that they worship. Is God an angry punishing God?  Some people prefer this type of God if the wrath is directed at others who sin, not at them.  But Biblical literature always comes to the same conclusion based on the faith, hope and lived experience of the writers.  “The Lord, the Lord, is a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” 

On this Sunday, when we reflect on the name of God.  We can ask what the God is like who we worship.  Do we call him by a title so we can distance ourselves from a powerful, scary, God? Or do we feel, intimacy, trust, compassion, forgiveness from our God.  More important than how we want to address God is how God wants to be addressed.  As the second reading says, “May the grace of Jesus, the love of God, the communion with the Holy Spirit” be with everyone. Such is the God we believe in and worship today.   


Please note these are just notes, grammar may not be perfect. '