Truth Within Mystery

“How majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:1, 9).

The gospel lesson for today in both lectionaries begins with Jesus’ words to his disciples, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” Throughout history, through the unrolling of the scriptural witness over time, God’s self-revelation is given as people are able to bear it. The final revelation was given in the life and person of Jesus, God himself in human flesh.

Now Scripture and tradition call our time the “last days.” The “last days” comprise the time from the day of the resurrection forward to the consummation, whenever that might be. Our being in the “last days” means, at least, that there will be no more revelation, no new knowledge of God given to his people beyond what we have already been given. Though it took the Church about four centuries to understand that Goel is a Trinity of Persons in one divine Substance, once that was discerned, accepted, and authoritatively proclaimed as the faith of the Church, one can look back and see the evidence in Scripture that it is so, even from the earliest-written texts.

The personification of “wisdom,” found in the reading from Proverbs (as well as other places in the Bible), suggests at least a complex personality within the divine as well as the desire to reveal the nature of God and to respond to human curiosity about God’s nature — for wisdom speaks “on the heights, beside the way, at the crossroads …, beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals,” calling to “all that live.” The lesson from Romans speaks of believers’ “sharing in the glory of God,” owning “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have access to this grace,” and love “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” These are Trinitarian terms. Returning to the gospel, though Jesus says that we cannot bear yet all that he wishes to reveal, he assures his disciples that ”the Spirit of truth … will guide [them] into all truth” – i.e., will bring to reasonable clarity what has been revealed but not yet perceived. The Spirit will do so by taking what is Jesus’ and declaring it to the disciples, and what is Jesus’ is the Father’s.

The lesson from Isaiah describes an early response to the mystery of God: the perception that the endless song in heaven before the presence of God is “holy, holy, holy,” taken by Christians as a sign that God is a Holy Trinity. What the disciples could not bear in the time of Jesus did not in the least prevent the people of God from being able to worship at any time.

Look It Up

Reflect on Jesus’ words to Philip at the Last Supper, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. … Do you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?” (John 14:9-10)

Think About It

The absolute reliability of the revelation of God as “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” cannot possibly exhaust the “mystery” of the nature of God revealed to finite creatures. Consider this assertion in the light of God’s revelation of himself to Moses in the words, “I am who I am” (Ex. 3:14)



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