By Father Patrick Longalong
We celebrate this weekend one of the greatest mysteries of our Christian faith. There have been many theologians who tried to give eloquent explanations about the Blessed Trinity. But like the saying goes, “answers lead to more questions.” We can only really appreciate this with the “eyes of faith.”
When I was a young boy, I would visit my hometown, located in a farming community, when school was off. I remember being fascinated at how the animals would reproduce so fast that one time I asked grandpa how the process worked. He just looked at me and said, “I don’t really know fully how it works, I only know that if I continue to fulfill my responsibility in caring for these animals like how my parents taught me, they will continue to flourish.”
Moses in the first reading clearly reminds us that there are many mysteries in the world that we cannot fully grasp because they are of God’s designs. However, he allowed us to know Him in our limited capacity through his commandments. His commandments are not just a set of rules and regulations that we have to blindly adhere to, but through them, we learn how to have a meaningful and fruitful life. Unfortunately, there are some who see a set of commandments as a list of limiting one’s freedom. It is actually the opposite. Maybe it is better to see these not as commandments but as instructions on how to live our life so we can enjoy what it means to be truly free.
There was an elderly parishioner I had the privilege of bringing communion to before she died. On my last visit, she told me that when she was young, she tried many things and broke many rules (nothing criminal) because she didn’t want to feel that she was being held back. She noticed that the excitements were short-lived. She would then find herself looking for other things to do to get that sense of feeling alive again. It was a cycle of going from one event to another but eventually, the chase for this lasting fulfillment made her weary.
It was only when she returned to what she described as the “tedious task” of prayer that she eventually grew to understand God. It is in this discipline of prayer, entering a more prayerful life, that her eyes were opened to a world that is much more exciting and mysterious than the rush of adrenaline she was chasing for a long time. Before she closed her eyes to rest, she told me that she was never freer and more fulfilled in life until she found God.
St. Paul in today’s second reading gave us a brief explanation of those who are “led by the Spirit of God.” The parishioner I described was able to allow the Spirit to lead her when she maintained a prayerful life. It was the Spirit that brought her to experience a life that is not held back by fear because she learned to overcome it with the love she learned through prayer.
This weekend, even though it might be tempting to understand the Blessed Trinity through theological explanations, I suggest we turn to prayer instead. This is our primary source. Prayer is our way of getting to know God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each member of the Trinity gives himself to us in the work of prayer. It would not even be possible to pray without their presence. As we continue to deepen our fellowship with God in prayer, the Gospel today should become more meaningful. Because essentially the missionary mandate of evangelization is rooted in our personal relationship and encounter with the Lord. We cannot give what we do not have.
Let us make more disciples for the Lord rooted in prayer.
Readings for Sunday, May 30
Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40
Father Longalong is the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes, Queens Village, and coordinator of the Ministry to Filipino Immigrants.