Gospel Reflections for Life-Promotion

INTRODUCING FR. FREDDIE'S GOSPEL REFLECTIONS

for Multi-purpose

1. These reflections are not written like an essay, but in six precise steps. Choose what you like.

2. They are not meant only for preaching homilies, but for a multi-purpose: for teaching, prayer (either personal or common), reflections and socio-pastoral guidance.

3. They can be used outside the liturgical celebrations also on any other occasions for preaching (by using the same text), private and common prayers, Bible Vigil, Adoration, Prayer Service, Gospel Sharing, conferences, talks, etc.

4. Only the Gospel text prescribed for the Sunday Liturgy in the Catholic Church is used for these reflections, and not the First and Second Readings. The latter are quoted only for reference. Those who want to include them, have to find their own applications.

5. These reflections are written from a pastoral and spiritual perspective, and not from academic or exegetical.

6. The preachers have an option to develop only the focus-statements given in Step 2 on their own into a full-fledged homily. If they want to make their homily shorter, they need not include all the points/thoughts written by the author; instead can select what they like, and (if they want) add their own stories/ anecdotes/ examples.

7. The title, “Gospel Reflections for Life-Promotion” indicates the author’s intention to highlight the life-sustaining or life-saving issues in our world and society in the midst of anti-life forces.

8. Though much of the material presented in these reflections is author's, no claim is made for the originality of all the thoughts and ideas. They are adopted from various authors.

9. Reproduction of these reflections in any form needs prior permission.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Sacred Heart of Jesus (A)

Sacred Heart of Jesus [Mt 11:25-30]
23 June 2017
Readings :(1) Deut 7:6-11  (2) 1 Jn 4:11-16
Revelation and Promise of Rest for the Little Ones
1.  Theme in brief:
Jesus’ love for the little ones and those with heavy burdens
2.  Focus Statement:   
Jesus invites not the powerful or the wise to follow him, but the humble and the little ones; he promises to give rest to those who are restless and are laden with heavy burdens.
3.  Explanation of the text
In today’s gospel Jesus thanks his Father, the Lord of heaven and earth, for revealing his will not to “the wise and the intelligent” but to the “infants” (11:25). The "wise and intelligent" may refer to those who reject him and his message. Perhaps it refers in particular to the scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus often accuses of hypocrisy. They take pride in their knowledge of the Law of Moses but neglect justice, mercy, and faith (23:23).
The "infants," on the contrary are those whom the world does not consider wise and prominent. They include all the people whom Jesus calls “blessed” in his Beatitudes and shows compassion in his public ministry (5:3-12) – the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the hungry, the merciful, the persecuted, the sick, the lepers, the possessed, the tax collectors and sinners. Figuratively, infants refer to all the little ones or those who are powerless and helpless, humble and lowly. It is God's gracious will to act in ways that confound human wisdom (11:26), and so these "infants" see what the "wise" cannot -- that Jesus is sent by the Father and reveals the Father (11:27). When we read this text in the context of today’s feast, it is clear that God’s boundless love which is exemplified by Jesus and symbolized by his Sacred Heart has a ‘soft corner’ for this kind of ‘infants’ (11:25). Such is the Father’s gracious will for this category of people (11:26).
Again, in the context of the feast of Sacred Heart of Jesus, we can understand this passage in another way: If we have to enter into the mystery of Jesus’ love for us (symbolized by his Sacred Heart), we should have the attitude of ‘infants’ or children (11:25). In other words, in order to understand the height and depth of Jesus’ love, we have to acknowledge our littleness and total dependence on God (like infants).  Only those who are conscious of their littleness can advance in their knowledge of the mysteries of God. If the wise and the intelligent have to grow in the knowledge of God, they too should become like children. Jesus claims that he alone can reveal exactly what God is like because of his oneness with the Father (11:27). Due to this, he has revealed to us the image of an infinitely and boundlessly loving God which is epitomized by his Sacred Heart.
The wise and the powerful fail to recognize that God favours the humble and the lowly. Therefore, Jesus invites not the powerful or the wise to follow him, but all those who are “weary and are carrying heavy burden” and promises to give them “rest” (11:28). It is clear that he has a heart for the weary, the weak and the fragile, and has a desire to lighten their burden. Besides, when Jesus invited all those who were burdened in his days, he had in mind the burden of religious obligation imposed on people of his Jewish society by the scribes and Pharisees (11:28). The yoke was a familiar symbol of burden, oppression and subjugation. The yoke refers to the yoke of the Law with all its minute regulations imposed by the religious leaders on the common people, and a servile obedience to them (11:29). They do this without caring for genuine human needs or compassion and charity.
The yoke of Christ becomes easy and his burden light because he is not a tyrant who lords it over his disciples. He insists on only one law to be observed by his followers, namely, the law of love.  Hence, he promises to deliver people from the burdens of multiplicity of religious laws by reducing them to the one law of love (11:30). This law is not burdensome but life-giving. Instead of getting crushed under the yoke of the Law, he asks his disciples to be yoked to his law of love and experience freedom from the burden of sin and find rest under God’s grace.
The rest for our souls promised by Jesus may also refer to the gift of salvation, which is far superior to the type of rest the Israelites were commanded to take by the Mosaic Law on of Sabbath (11:29). Here the unconditional love of Jesus for the whole of humanity leads him to extend an invitation to all those who feel that they are burdened with sins, and are in need of salvation. He invites them to come to him and find internal joy and peace. His invitation to learn from him refers to his invitation to become his disciples, since it is they who learn from the master.  All disciples have to learn and imitate his gentleness and humility to the point of death on a cross (Phil 2:8).
4.  Application to life                     
We are aware that the picture of human heart is used to symbolize love in advertisements and greeting cards. In many cultures, human heart is a symbol of human feelings, emotions and attitudes. For instance, take the English expressions like “heartfelt”, “heartless”, “a heavy heart”, etc. By our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and celebration of this feast, we do not venerate Jesus’ heart of flesh as a bodily organ, but celebrate his divine and human love for us. Today we celebrate God’s infinite love manifested in and through Jesus (for which his heart is the symbol). His boundless and self-sacrificing love, compassion, mercy and all the human emotions that he displayed to express these qualities are connected with his heart of flesh, to use the symbolic language of human beings.
The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus invites us to have a heart as large and compassionate as that of Jesus. His heart, which is the symbol of his love, invites us to discover God’s love more clearly and respond to it by loving our brothers and sisters as he loves us. From the gospel text explained above, we come to know that his heart has a ‘soft corner’ for the ‘infants,’ that is, for the little ones or those who are powerless and helpless, humble and lowly. Infants to whom the Father is pleased to reveal his love are the poor, the afflicted, the sinners, the sick, the outcasts, etc. Trying to lighten a bit of their burdens is the way we can respond to the fire of infinite love that radiates from the heart of Jesus. If we do, he will reveal his love more and more to us. As disciples of the Master whose heart is burning with love for these little ones, we need to ask ourselves where our heart is – whether it goes after only the mighty and the powerful, or whether there is a place in it for the powerless, the helpless, the voiceless and so many other ‘less-type’ of people. Where our heart is, there our interest is.
Secondly, Jesus continues to reveal to us day after day the mystery of his love exemplified by his Sacred Heart. But in order to understand the mysterious ways in which he loves us we should have the heart of a child, or the attitude of ‘infants’ or children. In order to understand the height and depth of Jesus’ love, we have to acknowledge our littleness and total dependence on God (like infants). If we have to really enter into the heart of God, i.e. into the mystery of his love, we have to put our complete trust in him in humility and simplicity of a child. Infants or children are not programmed to lie, cheat, dupe, etc. Unless and until adults contaminate and programme their innocent minds, they do not know what is bluff, hatred and prejudices. God reveals his love to those who are open to truth, who trust in him fully, and who humbly admit their own limitations and helplessness. God does not reveal himself or his loving plans to those who think they know everything or nothing to learn either from God or from others, and have answers for all problems of life.
In spite of all our higher education, qualification, immense knowledge and intellectual calibre, we are fragile human beings and are constantly in need of God’s grace. The more we humble ourselves and accept our limitations, the more we become attuned to so many signs of God’s love even in small things or events. We need to learn this type of humility and gentleness from Jesus. We also need his humility to accept what God reveals to us in good times and bad times. His love lies hidden in whatever happens to us. Thus, as disciples, we are perpetual learners of God’s love from our Master. We learn that as God’s love has no boundaries, so our service and concern should be; as God’s love has no conditions, so we should do good even to those who have done harm to us.
The unconditional love of Jesus for those who are burdened with sins and other problems of life as well as those who are weary of life leads him to extend a warm invitation to come to him and learn from him. There are people who carry heavy burdens – burdens of serious sins, guilt generated by past wrongdoings, personal weaknesses or defects of character, bad habits, unforgiving attitudes, bitterness, emotional wounds, doubts of faith, tensions, struggles, anxieties and responsibilities of life or work etc. All of us carry burdens of our families and work. Sometimes we find even our religious obligations and spiritual duties a burden. Today a special and loving invitation goes out from the loving Heart of Jesus to each one of us to learn from him, that is, to imitate his meekness and humility of heart. He invites us to surrender all our burdens before his Sacred Heart in humble obedience to God’s will, and experience the peace and inner joy
Since those who are weary of carrying heavy burdens are in need of salvation and freedom (called “rest” in the present text), they can experience it in him and through him. If we do anything out of love, even the heaviest burdens can become light. In other words, a genuine love can make even the heaviest burdens light. Lack of love can cause restlessness in our hearts. Christ’s invitation for us is to imitate his humility and compassionate love, that is, to become a humble servant and love as he loved us. It is up to each one of us to accept or reject this invitation. If we accept it, we find liberation and salvation from our selfishness and interior rest (that is, peace) in spite of occasional feelings of restlessness.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a powerful symbol against all the tensions, stress and restlessness of modern society. In spite of advancement in science and technology, we live in an atmosphere of anxiety, fear, insecurity and despair. Today’s feast of the Sacred Heart provides an opportunity for us to consider seriously the havoc created due to a sinful, fearful, tense, angry, bitter, revengeful, anxious, disappointed, lonely and rejected heart. All these negative factors have a strong negative effect on our physical, emotional and spiritual health. We need to acknowledge that the root cause of all our heart-problems is our failure to imitate the humble and meek qualities of the Heat of Jesus. We often offend and wound the Sacred Heart of Jesus by our egoism, lovelessness, arrogance, unforgiving attitudes, bitterness, hatred and unwillingness to humble ourselves to follow the path of compassionate, humble and sacrificial love shown by Jesus. Thus, we become the cause for many of our heart-troubles, including the growing number of heart-attacks.
5.  Response to God's Word
Today’s feast of Sacred Heart invites us to examine: Which feelings dominate our hearts - love or hate; mercy or hardheartedness; peace or restlessness; arrogance or humility to accept one’s limitations; concern for the downtrodden and the burdened or don’t-care-attitude. Do we try to lighten the burdens of others, especially of the little ones out of love for them? What are our personal burdens and the burdens of our families and work in day-to-day life? Do we find our religious obligations a burden? Do we accept Christ’s invitation to become a humble servant and love as he loved us? Do we become hardhearted towards the needs of the helpless and burdened people? Do we exhibit some glimpses of the love with which Jesus loved such people? How many heart-problems have we created for ourselves by our failure to imitate the humility and meekness of Jesus’ heart?
6.  A Prayer.

Let us repeat three times reflectively the traditional prayer we know: “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto thine.”

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Body and Blood of Christ (A)

The Body and Blood of Christ [Jn 6:51-58]
18 June 2017
Jesus Gives His Flesh to Eat and Blood to Drink
Readings: (1) Deut 8:2-3.14-16 (2) 1 Cor 10:16-17
1.  Theme in brief:
The reality of the Eucharist
2.  Focus Statement:   
Jesus is really and truly present in the Eucharist in his entire Person (flesh and blood); through it he truly becomes our spiritual food and drink; because it is his flesh given up (sacrificed) for the sustenance of divine life in us.
3.  Explanation of the text
In today’s gospel, Jesus speaks about more powerful bread than the manna eaten by the ancestors of the Jews in the desert (6:58). He says that those who eat this particular bread become sharers of God's own divine life (technically called ‘eternal life’ in John’s gospel), and live for ever in spirit even after their physical death (6:58). This bread is his “flesh,” that is, his entire self, which he would give up or sacrifice on the cross in order to give God’s own divine life to people of the world (6:51). In other words, in order to give divine life to the world, Jesus gives up his physical life as a sacrificial offering.
Jesus says that eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the “Son of Man” is not something optional for the believers, but absolutely needed to nourish their faith and the gift of divine life given to them. If they will fail to do so, they will have no divine life in them (6:53). In other words, divine life in them will dry up; hence that situation will lead them to a spiritual death gradually. The words “flesh and blood of the Son of man” instead of “my flesh and blood” indicate that we are not asked to eat literally the physical flesh (or meat) and blood of earthly Jesus (that is, Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus of history). That would amount to cannibalism and would sound sacrilegious not only to Jews of those days (who were strictly forbidden to drink or eat blood of animals in any form), but also to people of our times. 
What Jesus says is that we should have an intimate communion with his spiritual flesh and blood after he will rise from the dead and will be glorified. As glorified Lord he is identified with “the Son of Man” or a divine person mentioned in the OT (cf. Dan 7:13). What Jesus actually means is that by receiving him through the sacramental sign of bread and wine the believers take him entirely into them, along with his divinity. This intimate communion sustains the eternal (divine) life infused in believers at baptism. Therefore, the phrase “flesh and blood” does not mean physical flesh and real blood from human body, but a union with Jesus’ whole being or entire life in its mortal and fragile condition as well as in its glorified and divine state.
When Jesus says that his flesh is true food and blood is true drink (6:55), he means to say that this food and drink do to the spiritual life of believers what food and drink do to their physical life; that is, they nourish their spirit. In other words, Jesus claims that he is truly and really present in the Eucharist; hence, it is really a spiritual food and drink for believers.
The believers’ union with Jesus enables them to share his life, just as Jesus’ union with the Father enables him to share his life (6:57).The reception of the Eucharist has threefold effect on them: (1) nourishment of eternal life (6:54, 58), (2) abiding in Jesus or mutual indwelling (6:56) and (3) a pledge of final resurrection, given with the assurance: “I will raise them up on the last day” (6:54).
4.  Application to life                     
Today, as we celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, we firmly affirm and proclaim our faith that the Risen Lord Jesus is truly and really present in the Eucharist, because, as he claims in today’s gospel, his flesh is true food and blood is true drink (6:55). We raise our hearts and minds in thanksgiving to Our Lord in a special way for giving us the Eucharist as real spiritual food and drink to nourish our faith as well as our drooping spirit. What thanks can we render him for making a wonderful plan for our spiritual nourishment and growth? Again, today’s feast is such an act of thanksgiving, honour and praise to him.
Today’s gospel emphasizes two aspects of the Eucharist very much: sacrifice and shared life. All true life is sacrificial and sacrifices made out of genuine love for others always give life to them. Jesus sacrificed (gave up) his entire life or entire person (technically called his “flesh and blood” in today’s gospel) on the cross in order to give us God’s own life or divine life (called eternal life in John’s gospel). Now the same Lord becomes our Bread of Life in the Eucharist to nourish that divine life continually. We should never forget that the Eucharist is Jesus’ flesh or entire self given up (sacrificed) in order to go on feeding us with his divine life. This feast calls us to examine ourselves and see whether our entire life is spent only in pursuit of wealth and power, or in sharing our resources with the needy also, and whether we willingly make sacrifices for this kind of sharing.
Our common meals and banquets hosted on occasions like weddings are not meant only for filling our stomachs. If it were so, we could send some money to our relatives and friends and request them to have a nice meal in our name at their own homes on the occasion of wedding at our homes. When people gather at our invitation and share the banquet, it fosters love, communion, togetherness, fellowship and unity among all of us who share the same food. These banquets unite us and strengthen our relationships by coming together and socializing with one another. Similarly, the Eucharist also is a spiritual meal that gathers us together and results in an intimate relationship with Jesus as well as with one another. Unless we make the Eucharist as the source and summit of our life, we cannot grow in divine life. As mentioned in the explanation of the text, it is not optional.
Nowadays we are given a lot of health tips about the type of food we must eat and the type of food we must avoid in order to remain healthy. We are told to avoid “junk food” or “fast food” to maintain good health. The same thing is true about our spiritual health. If we do not bother to take care of our spiritual wellbeing by feeding our minds and spirit with spiritual food such as the Word of God and the Eucharist, sooner or later we are going to lose our spiritual health. Since we are constantly fed with all kinds of “junk food” by the mass media – such as possessions, positions, money, power, corruption, sex – we need a strong antidote to counter their negative influence on our minds and attitudes. Ultimately, we become what we eat – not only physically but also spiritually. Therefore, the question today’s feast wants us to consider is this: “What do you eat to grow spiritually?”
In today’s gospel, Jesus points to three effects or fruits of the reception of the Eucharist:
(1) Nourishing and sustaining the eternal life infused into us at baptism: As per John’s theology, eternal life, which begins at our baptism, is continually sustained and nourished by the Eucharist. Through the Holy Communion we take Jesus into us, and through him get into communion with God. Otherwise we shall suffer from under-nourishment or spiritual anaemia. We need to question ourselves whether we feed our hungry spirit for love and happiness with this spiritual food (Eucharist), or with pleasures, power, money, possessions and addictive behaviour.
Eternal life in John’s gospel is a present reality that can be experienced in this life itself to some extent. But it has a future fulfilment of total union with God in heaven (after death). The present experience of eternal life means a special and new quality of existence for those who believe in Jesus. It refers to a change in the quality of life, which a believer must live. Because of our faith in Christ our quality of life must be different from others. We have to re-think about our attitude towards the reception of the Eucharist and see whether it is only a routine, or whether it affects the quality of our life. How real is the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist for those of us who believe in his real presence in it? How does it affect us? Do we make a decision of the mind to improve the quality of our life as we silently bow down our heads and pray after receiving the Holy Communion? We ourselves become the centre of Christ’s real presence in the world if we live a life of self-sacrificing love and impart life to lifeless situations.
(2) A believer’s abiding in Jesus and Jesus’ abiding in him/her: This is called mutual indwelling. “Abiding” in Jesus or remaining with him refers to a personal and intimate relationship with him. It connotes an intimate union that takes place between Jesus and the one who feeds on him by faith. When we eat food, it becomes a part of our body and gets converted into energy. Similarly, when we feed on Christ we become more and more like him and grow into this intimacy.
This intimate union of the believer with the Risen Christ results in bearing fruits of love, fellowship and unity within our community more than the social banquets. Do we realize that it is one and the same Lord who comes into the hearts of friends and foes, the rich and the poor, Christians of this and that tribe/ caste/ race/ nationality, and of this and that language? Jesus invites us to make Eucharist the centre and source of our life, and feed our hungry minds and souls with this Bread of Life, especially when we are discouraged and in despair. Each time we receive the Eucharist, we are acknowledging and confessing that Jesus is our Bread of Life; we receive the One who alone can satisfy our deepest hunger and thirst for love, peace, justice…. With what disposition do we receive the Eucharist? The intimate union (abiding) with Jesus (called “Holy Communion”) should lead us to a life of communion (fellowship) with others. Since God so loved the world through the person of Jesus, a person who abides in him through the Eucharist should love the world as God loves. Reception of the Eucharist puts on us the responsibility to build up communities of love and unity, and build bridges of harmony. It motivates us to join programmes and groups that are involved in community building and human promotion.
 (3) A pledge of our final resurrection, an eternal abiding with Jesus in heaven. The joy of this final resurrection is compared to an eternal banquet. The Eucharist is an anticipation of the eternal banquet, a foretaste of it! To put it in human language, Eucharist becomes a pledge of hope to 'sit' with the Lord for an eternal banquet on the last day. Therefore, when we receive the Eucharist, sometimes we should remind ourselves of the hope of the life that is awaiting us. We should remind ourselves that the purpose of our life is not only to create an earthly legacy for ourselves – a name, fame, reputation and wealth. When we think of the impermanence of life, we realize our foolishness to put full trust in things of this world – as if we would enjoy them for ever!
5.  Response to God's Word
Does the regular reception of the Eucharist lead us to a deeper communion with Jesus and our community? Do we feed our hungry spirit with this spiritual food (Eucharist), or with pleasures, power, money, or with only tensions of work and problems? Jesus gives his entire person (= flesh and blood) in sacrifice in order to give us his divine life in the Eucharist. Is our life given in service for the underprivileged so that we can give them life? Do we try to build up our community or become causes for its division? Do we participate in programmes of community building, sharing and teamwork? Does Eucharist generate in us this hope or a reminder of the life that is awaiting us? Does this hope sustain and support us when we face suffering and crises?
6.  A Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, you gave your Church an admirable Sacrament as the abiding memorial of your sacrificial love. Grant that the redeeming power flowing from this Blessed Sacrament may sanctify us, nourish the divine life us, deepen our union with you, lead us to go out of ourselves in sacrificial service and increase in us the hope of being raised on the last day, where you live for ever.  Amen.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Feast of the Most Holy Trinity (A)

Most Holy Trinity [Jn 3:16-18]
11 June 2017
God’s Boundless, Life-giving and Saving Love
Readings: (1) Ex 34:4b-6.8-9 (2) 2 Cor 13:11-13
1. Theme in brief
Holy Trinity is a model for self-giving and self-communication
2.  Focus Statement
The Trinitarian God loves the whole of humanity so intensely and so universally that he goes out of himself in total self-giving, self-communicating and saving love.
3.  Explanation of the text
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…..” (3:16). Since the Church prescribes this widely quoted and most famous statement in John’s gospel for the feast of Holy Trinity, we need to understand its meaning in the context of this feast. From the NT as a whole, we understand that our God, though one, is a community of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Hence, when we read the above-mentioned statement in John’s gospel we are to read it from this angle: it is the Trinitarian God who loved the world so much. How much? Of course, to the extent of giving his only Son as a gift to the world deprived of his genuine love, and to the extent of giving him up as a sacrificial offering on the cross. [Note: Biblical experts say that the word “gave” has both the meanings of giving a gift and giving up or sacrificing somebody]. God so loved the world means, he loved people of the world precisely in this manner and so intensely. The Holy Trinity is therefore another expression of John’s briefest definition of God mentioned in his Letter, "God is Love" (1 Jn 4:8). The basic nature of love is self-giving. Love needs somebody with whom it is shared, to whom it is given and from whom it is received. If God were not love, he could have been a solitary God; he need not be a community of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The Triune God himself becomes the best model of this nature of love within the Divine Community of three Persons.
When Jesus says, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son….,” it implies quite a few things: (1) saving people is fully God’s initiative; (2) the motive behind such an action is his pure love; (3) that his love is so intense (he “so” loved…); and (4) that his love is universal because the word “world” as John uses in the present context means all the people of the world – Jews and Gentiles, virtuous and sinners, or nationals and foreigners. In the context of today’s feast, we understand that the Father loves humans so intensely, purely, selflessly and universally that he gives them the greatest of gifts, namely his Son; the Son also loves in a similar manner and out of love lays down (sacrifices) his life on the cross; and the Holy Spirit too loves humans similarly by becoming a permanent Advocate – a constant companion at their side at all times.
The second nature of love is self-communication. Jesus says in today’s gospel that the self-communication of God to the world through him was an act of purest love (3:16). Just as we communicate our thoughts, intentions, love and desires through our words, so God communicates and reveals his love and designs for humankind through his Word who is his Son himself.  Hence, Jesus is called the Word or Mind or Thought of the Father. Through Jesus we come to know that God’s thoughts are thoughts of self-giving love and this love is nurtured by communication or self-disclosure.
Though God’s love is a universal gift, that is, given to everyone who believes (3:16), in order to be effective, one must be well disposed to receive it. The sad fact is that people have the power to reject this gift! Hence, Jesus puts a condition for God’s love to be effective: the receiver must believe in the Son (Jesus). ‘To believe’ in John’s gospel does not mean intellectual assent given to the truths of faith, but a decision to entrust oneself to Christ or to put one’s trust in him or to be personally attached to him by faith.
What is the purpose of God’s boundless love for the world? The first purpose behind Trinitarian God’s boundless love for the world is to share his own divine life (also called eternal life) with human beings through Christ and in the Holy Spirit who is the giver of life (or spring of living water, Jn. 4:14; 7:37-39), so that they do not perish eternally (3:16). The second purpose is to save humans rather than condemn them (3:17). We find a definition about the first purpose of God’s giving his only Son, namely to give eternal life to all believers. In 17:3 Jesus defines eternal life thus: “That they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent”. This word “to know" is used throughout the Scripture to describe the most intimate and personal relationship that one can have. So, eternal life is a personal relationship with Jesus, or a loving communion of life with him and through him with the Father. It is through Jesus we can have an intimacy with God. The Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts is the fire which keeps this loving communion ever burring.
4.  Application to life                     
The Old Testament reveals to us the strictly monotheistic faith of Israelites. But from the New Testament we come to know that our God, though one, does not exist alone, in isolation or seclusion. He is neither a loner nor recluse; neither unrelated nor disconnected. He is a community of three inter-related persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – where love is shared through self-gift and self-communication. When we reflect on the inner life the Holy Trinity, we come to know that the love relationship which exists among the three persons flows into the world. Since we are baptized in the name of the Holy trinity, we are inserted into the Divine Family by baptism. Therefore, by baptism itself we are called to reflect the life of the Trinity. How?
First of all, we are called to imitate the self-giving love of the Holy Trinity. If God’s love for everyone in the world is so intensive, generous, selfless, self-giving, boundless, universal and sacrificial, what about our love? God's love is surprising, undeserved and unconditional. When we are confronted with this kind of love, our response should be either to submit to God's love or run away from it; nobody can remain neutral to it. Today’s feast calls on Christian families and religious communities to reflect on how they can love one another better by generously giving their  time, energy, knowledge, talents and gifts out of love for one another. They need to examine whether their love is selfless and generous, or selfish and business type; whether it is intensive, or just superficial; whether it is sacrificial, or seeking one’s own advantage and comfort; and whether it is universal, or exclusively confined to loving one’s own group (ethnic/ racial/ tribal/ caste/ linguistic), or only those who are good, obedient, submissive and well behaved.
Secondly, the Holy Trinity is the model for perfect love-relationship among us.. The essence of this heavenly community is the personal relationship of love among the three Divine Persons. Christian communities, especially the communities of Religious among us, are called to be rooted and grounded in love. The Triune God loves the world so intensely that he goes out in self-communication to all of humanity through his Son and continues to do so through the life-giving Spirit. Communication is a process in which one reveals something of oneself by way of self-disclosure. The very fact that God has revealed to us his own Trinitarian character is itself a proof that he loves us boundlessly. Nobody reveals or discloses oneself to those whom one does not love. Hence, this feast of the Holy Trinity invites us to imitate God’s own Trinitarian nature of self-communication or self-disclosure. Unless we disclose something of what is going on inside of us, how can we grow in each other’s love? Nobody will know what is going on inside of me, unless I decide to share it with others. Jesus shares with his disciples all that he heard from his Father on equal footing and in total transparency (15:15). None of the Divine Persons hold back or hide form each other what is theirs but share it fully with others (16:14-15). Jesus says that he has many more things to tell us (16:12-15) about the mystery of God’s love. He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us in our discovery of God’s love as well as each other’s love in daily life. We are called to imitate the qualities of sharing, communication and transparency that exist within the Divine Community in our families and religious communities. Communication involves a sharing of our likes, dislikes, doubts, hopes, fears, faith and experiences. By this we discover who the other person is and each other’s love. The uncontrolled use of TV, mobile phones, computer and the internet has brought down the level of communication in our families and religious communities so much that it tends to be more superficial and not deeper. Further, tendencies of individualism make us more isolated and selfish. If we follow the unwritten principle of, “I do my work; you do your work” and “I mind my business; you mind your business,” faith in the Holy Trinity becomes meaningless!
Thirdly, we are called to live a life of unity in spite of so much diversity among ourselves. We come to know from the NT that within the Divine Family of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, there is perfect unity of purpose in spite of diverse roles or functions. Creation is attributed to the Father or the Creator of heaven and earth, redemption to the Son who laid down his life on the cross for our salvation, and sanctification to the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts. Each Person is unique and all share in the divine nature in perfect unity. Similarly, each one of us is unique but as humans and as Christians we share a common origin, common nature and a common destiny. All the three Persons fulfil their roles for one purpose: universal salvation of humankind. Therefore, if we want to love the world as God loves (as today’s gospel tells us), we need to work out unity among us in spite of differences of race or caste, language, ethnicity, culture, opinions, faith tradition (religion), and other social affiliations. This requires respect for others’ differences, accepting them as they are, appreciating whatever is good and noble in them and sacrificing our own prejudices, judgements and wrong attitudes. Do we try to work out unity by respecting diversity among people, or look for unity with uniformity, that is, by forcing everybody else to be like us? Our God is a God of pluriformity and not uniformity; all differences are like seven colours and all are needed to make a ‘rainbow.’
Fourthly, this feast invites us to make our love more universal and inclusive. Our faith is a response to God’s universal love. Do we love the people of “our world” (our human society) as God loved and loves the world? This feast motivates us to fight against evil forces which block the universality of love such as prejudices, narrow-mindedness, groupism, racism, jealousies and individualism. It motivates us to respect and accept the differences among us and work for unity in spite of our diversity of ethnicity or race, culture, language, religion, opinion and ideology. It also inspires us to question our ghetto-mentality and appreciate something good in everything and everybody, or to collaborate with any people of good will who work in the line of gospel-values.
Fifthly, this feast motivates us not be judgmental and become ‘experts’ in always condemning others who are weak or do wrong. Since the Trinitarian God wants that nobody should perish, but all be saved, and showers his mercy and salvation on sinners, we too need to imitate these attitudes. We have to examine whether our love is merciful and saving like that of the Holy Trinity.
5.  Response to God's Word
Do we love the world (our civil society, neighbourhood, village community) as God does? Is it selfless and generous, or selfish and business type; intensive, or just superficial; sacrificial, or seeking one’s own advantage and comfort? Is our love universal or selective? Is there genuine and deeper communication in our family or religious community? What should we do to overcome superficial communication among us? Do we fight against evil forces which block the universality of God’s love such as racism, ethnic loyalties, religious and national prejudices? How often have we offended the Trinitarian God by wishing terrible things including death to our opponents and enemies? Is our love merciful and saving, like that of the Trinity?
6.  A Prayer.

Most Holy Trinity, we adore you as a community of three Divine Persons who reveal boundless love to us through total self-giving and self-communication. Grant our love may be selfless, generous, deeper, sacrificial and universal like yours. Grant that we may discover each other’s love in our family (community) more and more, deeper and deeper through regular communication. Give us the grace to overcome our prejudices, narrow-mindedness, groupism, racism, jealousies and individualism. May our love be merciful and saving like yours rather than condemning? Amen.