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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
This week I was asked to help out with daily mass. Now being a deacon, I cannot celebrate mass but I can preside over a communion service. My first one ever was Friday morning. It seemed to go pretty well. I got here early, went over the prayers and readings, I had my homily. I even wrote out the intersessions. My next one was yesterday morning at eight. Again, like Friday, I got here early. I had everything prepared and was even a bit more relaxed since I already had my first communion service under my belt. I figured, I got this. So, off I go; the opening prayer, the readings, I delivered my homily, moved on to the Our Father, then started the Eucharistic portion of the service. After I returned to the altar following Communion, I caught sight of the sheet of paper that had the intersessions written on them. The ones I forgot to read. My heart sank.
For those of you who frequent daily mass, the intersessions are kind of a big deal. As they are being prayed, the folks in the pews get the opportunity to add their own personal intentions. These petitions pretty much cover anything and everything. Folks just let go of what is on their hearts and the community prays for them.
As I stared at the sheet of intersessions I said to myself, “Nice going Eddy, now these prayers will never be heard and the people in the pews did not get the chance to voice their own intentions.” I know it’s not the end of the world but I did beat myself up a little over it.
In today’s gospel, we heard Jesus say, “God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish. Whoever believes in his name will not be condemned.”
Believing in the name of Jesus goes beyond simply recognizing Jesus as the son of God. If we really believe in his name, we can’t help but feel the love he has for us. We experience his presence in ourselves and others. When we believe in the name of Jesus, we open ourselves to have a relationship with him. One of the ways we express and nurture this relationship is through prayer. We bring Jesus into that intimate part of ourselves where we keep our hopes, desires, and fears. We bring to Christ all our special intentions, even the ones that I forgot to deliver Saturday morning.
Ultimately, as our relationship with Christ deepens, we learn to live in the closeness to him that is created. We find ourselves moved beyond words when we recognize his presence in our lives because we see his response to our prayers. These are truly intimate and affirming moments that deepen our love and devotion to Jesus. With this, our faith blossoms.
To believe in the name of Jesus gives life to his presence. When we all do this, as a community, we become the mystical body of Jesus here and now. And this is what it means to be church.
Today as a community, we celebrate the Solemnity of the most Holy Trinity. Three persons but one God. It is God’s desire that we experience his divinity and thus enjoy life eternal. God the father, creator of all, author of life. Jesus his son, born incarnate to share in our experience. Christ whose life serves as the perfect example of mercy, compassion, forgiveness, charity, and unconditional love. The Holy Spirit which resides in each of us, stirs our soul and moves us towards God’s will. To believe in the name of Jesus means that we embrace the Holy Trinity and let it touch the different facets of our life.
Jesus says in today’s gospel, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”
So great is God’s love for us, as a Community of Persons, that he let us share that very love in the community of persons we are, giving and receiving love, as God does. The Mystery we celebrate today is, thanks to God’s grace, the mystery of our relationships with each other.