7 June, Sunday –Overwhelming Tenderness

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost in the Western Christian liturgical calendar, and the Sunday of Pentecost in Eastern Christianity.[2] Trinity Sunday celebrates the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, the three Persons of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

– Wikipedia

Exo 34:4-6, 8-9
2 Cor 13:11-13
Jn 3:16-18

The Lord, a god of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger rich in kindness and faithfulness.

As I read the passages for today, I came across this description of God. It struck me that as the Lord passed by, he talked first about his compassion. In verse 7, he also outlines his justice. It made me reflect on God’s justice and mercy. I once attended a talk and the priest emphasized that we can only talk about God’s mercy because he is just.

So I went to read the passages prior to those of the first reading. This reading happened right after the apostasy of Israel. And then it made more sense why God talked first about his abounding compassion. I would imagine that after breaking the first set of tablets, the Israelites must have been guilt-stricken. They would probably have known what they deserved for deserting the God who parted the Red Sea for them to walk on dry land. They would probably have been so scared knowing how their God could send the 10 plagues.

I feel that if each of us could be honest with ourselves, we would know exactly what we did wrong. If we strip ourselves of our defensiveness, if we stop with our endless justifying of our actions, we know that we have fallen short. Even the Saints were aware of how they fall short of loving God every single day of their lives.

Because we are so aware of our transgressions against God, we sometimes give up, or give in to despair. Maybe because growing up, we saw God as a punisher more than a Lover. I grew up hearing more that ‘God will get angry’ if I did this, or that, rather than hearing how much He loved me. So maybe it’s human nature.

What they Saints knew, then, was that God is an infinitely loving Father. True, they are acutely aware of how their actions have fallen short. But they are quick to throw themselves in God’s mantle of love and mercy. This may be something that most of us forget.

One of my favorite quotes is from Saint John Vianney: “Our sins are nothing but a grain of sand alongside the great mountain of the mercy of God.” Whenever I am swallowed by an overwhelming feeling of guilt and shame, I try to remember this. I think God was trying to tell Moses the same thing.

Indeed, God’s mercy is really abounding. I hope that whenever we feel that we have to hide our bad side from God, or whenever we feel we don’t have the right to face our God, we remember what He told Moses after Israel’s apostasy.

We should not forget our guilt, but as we hold on to our guilt, we become more aware of God’s love and mercy. And with this, we strive again to be better people.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)

Prayer: Dearest Lord God, please help us to remember how much you love us, how much you desire to be with us. Let us not be conquered by guilt, but let this guilt help us understand the immensity of your mercy.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for giving us the example of Saints who were so aware of their sinfulness and yet could live at peace with themselves, as they trusted in your love and mercy.

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