First reading: Prv. 8:22–31
Thus says the wisdom of God: “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. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains or springs of water; before the mountains were settled into place, before the hills, I was brought forth; while as yet the earth and fields were not made, nor the first clods of the world.
“When the Lord established the heavens I was there, when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep; when he made firm the skies above, when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth; when he set for the sea its limit, so that the waters should not transgress his command; 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 surface of his earth; and I found delight in the human race.”
Second reading: Rom. 5:1–5
Brothers and sisters: Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Gospel: Jn. 16:12–15
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”
In other words Fr. Magdaleno Fabiosa, SVD (Holy Name University, Tagbilaran City, Bohol)
Does today’s feast have a message that has something to do with our everyday life? The book of Genesis can help us discover an answer, where it says that we human beings are created in God’s image (1:27). But God did not only create us in his image; he shows us a concrete example of what being made in his image meant when, in Jesus, he became a human being, like us in everything except sin. In and through the man Jesus, we can take a peep, so to say, into the Trinity and have an idea of what it means to image it in our life.
When asked to describe who God was for him, John the evangelist gave a terse description: God is love. In 3:16 of his Gospel, John defined what this love of God meant: This is how God loved the world—he gave his only Son. The basis of this concise description was his experience of and with Christ himself, whom he saw, heard, and touched. For God, to love is to give. But God cannot give anything, out of love, except himself. Jesus, therefore, is the “peephole” through which we get a glimpse of what this mystery of God’s love (this giving) means from a human perspective.
There are two undeniable directions that characterized Jesus’ human life: his readiness to do the will of the Father—“I always do the will of the Father” (8:29), and his love for his neighbors—“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (10:10). Jesus shows us how the second person of the Trinity lived, in a human way, this love (this giving) in the life of the Trinity. This is the identity of Jesus: to exist for God his Father and to love his neighbor by being of service to them. The more he emptied himself of himself—the more he was nothing—out of love, the more he was the second person of the Trinity. Jesus witnessed this on the cross, especially when he uttered these words, “Why have you forsaken me?”
The essential characteristic of God, therefore, is that of self-giving, of existing not for oneself but for the other out of love. This is what today’s feast reminds us of, our vocation to live as Jesus lived. And to be able to do this, God our Father sent us the Holy Spirit. This is what the 4th Eucharistic Prayer says about this fact: “And that we might live no longer for ourselves but for him, he sent the Holy Spirit from you, Father, as his first gift to those who believe, to complete his work on earth.”
God did not only create us in his image, he also sent us his Son Jesus to give us an example of what it means to live as true men and women. Added to this, he sent us his Spirit to empower us precisely to live as Jesus lived. Out of his unfathomable love for us, therefore, God has done everything for us. All we need to do is say “yes” to this vocation and live accordingly, and then God will do the rest.