Be with us, Lord
(Trinity Sunday: Exodus 34:4-6 & 8-9; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18)
“If I want my Son not to abandon you, I am obliged to plead with him constantly.” The Beautiful Lady’s words reflect the situation of Moses in our first reading, from the book of Exodus.
This is not the first time he has pleaded with God not to abandon his people. Psalm 106 sums up the situation: “Then he [God] spoke of exterminating them, but Moses, his chosen one, withstood him in the breach to turn back his destructive wrath.”
We are not surprised to find that God continues, to this day, to forgive his people (with or without punishment). He chose Abraham and his descendants and made promises that he intends to keep. John puts it beautifully: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
Love and intimacy go together. Friends share secrets, each entering gradually into the mystery of the other. So it was with God and Moses. In Exodus 3, God revealed to Moses his mysterious Name—the Name which must never be taken in vain.
For Christians, the name of God in the Blessed Trinity is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We cannot adequately understand this mystery, but that does not prevent our entering into it. St. Paul writes: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”
Moses prays for a similar blessing: “If I find favor with you, O Lord, do come along in our company.” This scene bears out what is written in the previous chapter (Exodus 33:11): “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a person speaks to a friend.”
I have seen, in a tiny private chapel, a stained-glass window that presents a unique image of Our Lady of La Salette. She is kneeling before her Son Jesus. He is seated, holding a cross-shaped scepter in his left hand, while his right hand is raised in blessing. Her face is sad, his gaze is peaceful and loving.
In this solemn yet simple encounter, we can imagine her prayer, very nearly in the words of Moses: “This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon their wickedness and sins, and receive them as your own.”
Blessed Trinity, one true God, be with us always!
Wayne Vanasse and Fr. René Butler, M.S.