During this season of Lent, I will be working through Bishop Robert Barron’s Lenten Gospel Reflections (available through Word on Fire). Each day, I will share the readings and the reflection question, followed by my own thoughts.
April 8, 2022
31 The Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “We stone you for no good work but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and Scripture cannot be nullified), 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands. 40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John at first baptized, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him; and they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.
The Holy Bible (Revised Standard Version; Second Catholic Edition, Jn 10:31–42). (2006). Ignatius Press.
How does thinking about the Trinity as a “family of coinherent (mutually indwelling) relationships” shed light on this mystery? What does it say about the importance of loving relationships?
I was listening to an episode of The Lord of Spirits last night entitled “God’s Body,” in which one of the key points raised is that God is not analogous to us; rather, we (being made in His image) are analogous to Him! So when in the Bible the Psalmist says, “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears toward their cry” (Psalm 34:15), we don’t interpret this as meaning that God has literal eyes and ears; rather, we understand that God in His omniscience can see and hear – and we, being made in the image and likeness of God, are given physical eyes and ears so that we, who have bodies, may see and hear. Expanding on this point, Fr. Damick explained that the relationship between Christ and His church is not like that between husband and wife; rather, the relationship between husband and wife is like that between Christ and His church!
One of the most fascinating ways I’ve heard the Trinity explained was when Bishop Robert Barron explained that as Christians, we go beyond understanding that God is being itself (I AM) as He revealed Himself in the Old Testament; we understand that God is love, a distinctly Trinitarian concept – because for God to be love, there must be within Himself “a lover, a beloved, and the love that they share” (source). So in a way, a family is analogous to the Trinity – a bridegroom and his bride, and the child that proceeds from their love. Pope Benedict XVI, delivering a homily on the Feast of the Holy Family in 2009, said this: “The human family, in a certain sense, is an icon of the Trinity because of its interpersonal love and the fruitfulness of this love” (source).
What this tells me about the importance of loving relationships is that my responsibility as a husband and a father is to love in the image and likeness of God. He is love per se; I am to love analogically. God is love (1 John 4:16); I am made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26); I am made to love (John 15:12).
Father God, You love Your children, and You take care of our needs; You love us with patience and understanding. Let me love my children as You love us. Lord Jesus Christ, You became a sacrifice for Your bride, coming to not to be served, but to serve. Let me love my wife as You love us. Holy Spirit, fill my heart; kindle in me the fire of Your love.