Romans 11:33-36 / Matthew 28:18-20
When we find ourselves faced with calamity, it is hard to know what is more fundamental, the relationships we have with those around us or the brute and unavoidable facts and physical realities of the affliction itself. Of course, we value the personal relationships more, and we talk as though we thought them most important of all. Even so, it is hard to escape the fact that, even should others mean us well or support us in our times of distress, the calamity remains the same as ever.
This is certainly clear in cases of global concern, like the ongoing spillage of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. To be sure, we can, if we like, understand this ongoing crisis as a political, which is to say an interpersonal one. We might, that is, wonder what might have happened had everyone involved been more open, more transparent to one another. However, in the end, what we seek is a technical, physical solution. Even if every concerned party were in perfect accord with one another, there will be no good for anyone so long as oil continues to spill. The same goes as well for our personal calamities. We may value and appreciate those who love us and our hardships may be easier to bear in light of the solidarity of others with us, but in the end we want a cure, a solution, the end to what afflicts us. In short, whatever we might say, in many ways we feel and behave as though what is most important, most fundamental, is the impersonal world around us, and not the fellowship of persons within it.
However, insofar as we think this way, we have deceived ourselves. We have seen with the eyes of the spirit of this world when we imagine that raw, brute, impersonal facts are the foundations of the universe to which personal relations, however valuable and noble, are added, like gold leaf to so much lead. The truth which we celebrate on this solemn day is that of the Holy Trinity. That is, we proclaim to the world the mystery that is at the heart of all that is, for of him, and by him, and in him, are all things. At the very root and cause of all things that are, that have been, that ever will be are not brute facts, but the three divine Persons of the Holy Trinity.
This means that the most fundamental question is always the question of personal relations. There is no deeper reality to which we can appeal. There is no fact so basic that it lies beneath our acts of love and fellowship with one another. Rather, it is Love, essential and subsistent Love, the Love who begets, the Love who is begotten, the Love who is breathed forth from all eternity — this is who lies before, behind, beneath, in and through everything. It is just this tripersonal Love who has called us who believe not merely to echo, nor even merely to image, but to have a true share for all eternity in that relation of Persons who is the one, true God.
This is why we bear up with even the worst the world has to offer. There is no created reality, no set of circumstances, which is more foundational than our fellowship through Baptism with the Blessed Trinity. This is the heart of the Gospel. This is the central and crowning mystery of the Christian faith that we have been commissioned by our Lord himself to proclaim to every living creature. This is our saving faith and our undying hope. Blessed are you, O Lord, that behold the depths and sit above the cherubim. Blessed are you, O Lord, in the firmament of heaven, and worthy of praise for ever!