Sunday Mass from St Paul’s Grotto, Rabat – 7 June


Sunday, 7th June 2020: Sunday Mass by Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna from St Paul’s Grotto, Rabat on the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity …

Homily by Archbishop Charles Jude Scicluna

This year’s readings for the Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity bring us quite an important aspect of the mystery of the God we believe in. I would say that there is one idea, word, that we meet in every one of the three readings we had and this is love.

In the Gospel Jesus dialogues with Nicodemus and tells him: “God so loved that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). The love of God brings us healing and life eternal. In the Book of Exodus the Lord reveals himself as a “God merciful and gracious, full of tenderness and compassion” (Ex 34:6).

What beautiful words describe who our God is. This is what we are celebrating today that God is love.

And the greeting with which I started this Eucharist today comes from the teaching of the apostle Paul: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you” (2 Cor 13:13).

I have chosen to celebrate mass on this great feast in this grotto. It was here that the apostle Paul preached who God is to the Maltese. He came here to visit, a prisoner of the Roman empire, on his trip to an appeal before Caesar, but a prisoner who gave them true freedom, the freedom to love in the right way, the freedom to believe in a God who is love, not far away but a God that loves the world so much “that he sent his only Son so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”.

The reading from the Second Letter of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians is actually the concluding verses of this letter from chapter 13: “Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, love one another, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Cor 13:11). What a beautiful message we need to bring to the world that the love of God is with us, the God of love is with us.

Now antiquity had so many gods of love; the God that Paul proclaims and preaches is the God who has this visceral love for humanity. Pope Benedict XVI has an extraordinary document called ‘God is Love’ Deus Caritas Est. He explains that we do not need to despise Eros because there is Eros in God, there is passion in God. That is why the Book of Exodus talks about the tenderness of God, the compassion of God. There is obviously oblation, there is offering because God so loved the world that he gave his only Son and this is what we believe in, what we celebrate today.

1,960 years ago we took the risk to welcome a prisoner and he set us free. May we be given the grace to look beyond appearances and see the image of God in each other and understand that we are created in the image of God who is love

Through the intercession of the apostle Paul, let us ask for the gift to understand that God loves us, that his love brings healing. From this sacred grotto Paul healed all the Maltese who were sick. Can you imagine the great joy that he brought into so many families on these islands? He had given healing from dysentery and fever to the father of Publius and then everybody came with their sick – children, parents, relatives – to this grotto asking for healing and to listen a word from this prisoner who was setting us free.

1,960 years ago we took the risk to welcome a prisoner and he set us free. May we be given the grace to look beyond appearances and see the image of God in each other and understand that we are created in the image of God who is love. And let us pray that our love and our loves are healed by the touch of his tenderness and his compassion.

✠ Charles Jude Scicluna
Archbishop of Malta

Mass Readings:
First Reading: Ex 34, 4b-6.8-
Psalm: Dan 3, 52.53.54.55.56
Second Reading: 2 Kor 13, 11-13
Gospel: Jn 3, 16-18

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