Sunday, 27 May 2018 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday after the Pentecost, we celebrate the great occasion of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity or Trinity Sunday. On this occasion, we commemorate one of the greatest mysteries of our faith, the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is what we believe in, and this is our Christian faith, and we believe in God, Who is One, but Who is also Three.

What does it mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? Does it mean that we believe in Three Gods? No, it is not. We as Christians believe in the one and only one True God, Who created heaven and earth, the Creator and Master and Lord of the whole universe and existence. This is our faith and this is what we truly believe in. We believe in one God Who exists in Three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Many people misunderstood and misrepresented our Christian faith as they failed to see the truth behind this mystery, or that they received the wrong information and misconception from others who also had the same misconception. They thought that Christians worship three Gods, and not one God. They thought that we have blasphemed against God, just as the Pharisees among the Jews charged against the early Christians.

The same Pharisees together with the chief priests were also angry at the Lord Jesus Himself, at several occasions in the Gospels, including at the moment when they condemned Him to death, because He claimed to be the Son of God, and to them, God has no Son, and thus, to them, the Lord Jesus had committed blasphemy and great sin against God. But that is because they failed to understand the truth and refused to believe.

There were also others who accused Christians of polytheism and blasphemy, for the same reason. And many of them refused or failed to listen to the truth. Unfortunately, there are also those among us who do not understand the truth and have the same misconception, thinking that we believe in three Gods, or three different Persons in Godhood, or else, do not understand the relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us spend some time to go through the essentials of what is the Most Holy Trinity and why do we believe in this mystery of the Trinity. Indeed, as I have mentioned, being a mystery of our faith, we ourselves and the Church do not have the fullness of understanding of what the Trinity completely entails, but through the teachings of the Apostles and by the words of Our Lord Himself, by divine revelation and all, we have understanding of what the Trinity is.

First of all, as elaborately explained in the famous Creed written by St. Athanasius the Great, as Christians we believe in one God, and not in three Gods. Yet, we also believe in the Father, Who is distinct from the Son and from the Holy Spirit, and vice versa, as we believe in the Son, Who is distinct from the Father and from the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit Who is distinct from the Father and from the Son.

Thus, we believe in one Father, one Son and one Holy Spirit, Who together form the inseparable and yet distinct Union, which we know as the Most Holy Trinity. The common misunderstanding that we as Christians have is that God exist just as one Person, but having three different roles. No, brothers and sisters in Christ, the Trinity is composed of Three co-equal and co-eternal Persons, that are both distinct and yet united as One at the same time.

And for the proof of the existence of the Most Holy Trinity is present throughout the entire Scriptures, right from the very beginning of time, to the very end. In the book of Genesis, at the very first chapter, we saw the account of the creation of the world. In the beginning, there was nothing but God, and nothing was created before time began. And God existed since before time began, for He is eternal, and the Son and the Holy Spirit is equally eternal with God the Father, and not after Him.

This is another part, where heresies and wrong teachings have resulted in wickedness entering the Church and causing divisions among the faithful, as there were those who thought that the Son and the Holy Spirit are not equal to the Father, Whom they see as superior, or even as God that existed in the Old Testament, relating Him with God the Father alone. They proclaimed that the Son was a mere Creation, or was subservient to Him, and the Holy Spirit was explained in the same manner.

But these were wrong, brothers and sisters in Christ, and the truth has prevailed in the end. It is this same truth which I now impart upon you, as shared among us all Christians, believing in the Trinity of Godhood, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. For you see, in the Book of Genesis, if we delve deeper into the words written as recorded in that account of creation, particularly on the creation of man, we will see how God Himself referred to Him as ‘We’ and ‘Us’.

As God created man, He said, ‘Let Us create man in Our image’. And Who are the ‘Us’ and ‘Our’ mentioned in that passage referring to? None other than the One God, in His Three Divine Persons, the Most Holy Trinity. Each of the members of the Trinity work together as One in the work of creation. For God willed the world and all creation into existence, as the Father’s will have it, and by His words, the Word of God, everything came to be.

In the Gospel of St. John, in the first chapter, we heard St. John writing, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’. And from there, he elaborated how the Word has ‘become incarnate into Flesh’ that is becoming Man. Through this, and through the teachings of the Church, we associate the Son with the Word of God, He Who has become incarnate through the Blessed Virgin Mary, His mother, that is Jesus Christ, Son of God.

How about the Holy Spirit, then? The Holy Spirit is in everything and is the Lord and the Giver of life, as we recite it every time we say the Nicene Creed. Through the Holy Spirit, we receive life, just as the Lord breathed life into us, made from mere dust at the beginning of time. Through that, the Holy Spirit entered into us, and gave us life. Through the Holy Spirit, God made the world, just as through the Son, the Word, everything came to be, by the will of the Father. The three members of the Holy Trinity working together, and in perfect harmony.

The Lord Jesus also repeated this act in the Gospels, as He appeared to them after His resurrection. He breathed onto them, symbolising the giving of the Holy Spirit upon them, Who descended upon them and rested on them on Pentecost. The Holy Spirit gave them strength and courage to preach the truth about God, the Most Holy Trinity, and through that, they carried out the mission which the Lord entrusted them with, as He said in our Gospel passage today.

‘Go forth and make disciples of all the nations, and baptise them in the Name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.’ This is the Great Commission, the great commandment which the Lord Jesus gave to all of us as Christians, who ourselves have been baptised in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Most Holy Trinity. We have been called to share this faith we have, and call all the people, to come and be baptised, and be sealed as the possessions of God, the Most Holy Trinity.

How do we do so, brothers and sisters in Christ? Should we go forth and preach with many words in the streets and calling people to listen to the truth spoken through us? No, that is not how we should do it. Indeed, we can convey the truth through words, but we will realise that often, our actions speak much louder than words alone. And in truth, many of us Christians do not act in the manner of what we have said.

We are often divided among ourselves, and we often treat others with contempt and hatred. But that is not what the Lord had shown us and told us to do. Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, the very reason why God created us, is because He loves each and every one of us. He loved all of His creations, and foremost among all that, is all of us, mankind, created in His own image.

God has no need for our love, for He Himself had perfect love in Him. We believe in God Who consists of Three Divine Persons united in perfect love to each other, the inseparable and indissoluble bond of love. God Himself is Love. And He showed us the same love which He has in Him, the love the Father has for the Son. And showed us that love by giving us His very own Son, that through Him, and through His act of perfect and selfless love on the cross, He can show us what it means for us to be Christians. And it is by this, that we call others to be believers just as we are.

It means that all of us must love one another, and show this love in every action we take and in every words we say. A Christian who does not love is not a true Christian, and we should not just love those who loved us, but even those whom we did not know before, and also those who even hated us and persecuted us. This is true Christian love, and if we now have a better understanding of the Most Holy Trinity, and the love that is in God, we too, should show the same love in our daily lives.

For in the end, all of us belong to the same Body of Christ, the Church, where all of us are united in Christ, through love, Christian love and the love which God has shown us. Therefore, we must love generously, and be merciful and forgiving in our actions and dealings with each other. Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us therefore, from now on, devote ourselves with a new commitment, to stay true to our faith in God, and to be loving, just as the Lord Himself is love, the Most Holy Trinity of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, by Whom everyone who believe are be saved. Amen.

Sunday, 27 May 2018 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 28 : 16-20

At that time, as for the eleven disciples, they went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Jesus, they bowed before Him, although some doubted.

Then Jesus approached them and said, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples from all nations. Baptise them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. I am with you always even to the end of the world.”

Sunday, 27 May 2018 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Romans 8 : 14-17

All those who walk in the Spirit of God are sons and daughters of God. Then, no more fear : you did not receive a spirit of slavery, but the spirit that makes you sons and daughters, and every time, we cry, “Abba! (this means Dad!) Father!” the Spirit assures our spirit, that we are sons and daughters of God.

If we are children, we are heirs, too. Ours will be the inheritance of God, and we will share it with Christ; for, if we now suffer with Him, we will also share glory with Him.

Sunday, 27 May 2018 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 32 : 4-5, 6 and 9, 18-19, 20 and 22

For upright is YHVH’s word and worthy of trust in His work. YHVH loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

The heavens were created by His word, the breath of His mouth formed their starry host. For He spoke and so it was, He commanded, and everything stood firm.

But YHVH’s eyes are upon those who fear Him, upon those who trust in His loving kindness; to deliver them from death and preserve them from famine.

In hope, we wait for YHVH, for He is our help and our shield. O YHVH, let Your love rest upon us, even as our hope rests in You.

Sunday, 27 May 2018 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Deuteronomy 4 : 32-34, 39-40

Ask of the times past. Inquire from the day when God created man on earth. Ask from one end of the world to the other : Has there ever been anything as extraordinary as this? Has anything like this been heard of before? Has there ever been a people who remained alive after hearing as you did the voice of the living God from the midst of the fire?

Never has there been a God Who went out to look for a people and take them out from among the other nations by the strength of trials and signs, by wonders and by war, with a firm hand and an outstretched arm. Never has there been any deed as tremendous as those done for you by YHVH in Egypt, which you saw with your own eyes.

Therefore, try to be convinced that YHVH is the only God of heaven and earth, and that there is no other. Observe the laws and the commandments that I command you today, and everything will be well with you and your children after you. So you will live long in the land which YHVH, your God, gives you forever.

Sunday, 11 June 2017 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday and Feast of St. Barnabas, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday we celebrate the great occasion of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, one of the centrepiece of our faith, and yet one which is also often misunderstood by many people, both by those who are outside the Church, and even among Christians like us. How many of us truly know what is the Holy Trinity and how important it is for us Christians?

Imagine, brothers and sisters in Christ, if someone is to come to us and ask us, questions such as what kind of God do we believe in, or what is the Holy Trinity which Christians believe in, are we able to give them an accurate and reliable answer based on our knowledge of the Holy Trinity? It is often that, we realise that not only that in many occasions, Christians are taken aback by such questions, as we often take for granted what we believe in, and we do not take the effort needed to understand better what is the mystery and truth of our God.

What if someone is to ask us why we believe in three Gods or three separate divine Beings, or if someone else indeed accuse us of being false to our supposedly monotheistic faith because we believe in three Gods? It is truly a reality that there are quite a few people who do not truly understand our Christian faith, who thought that we worship three distinct Gods, in the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and therefore, we do not believe in the One and only God, Creator and Master of all the universe.

But all of them were born out of misinformation, misunderstanding and the lack of true knowledge of what our Christian faith is. We have received the fullness of truth, and therefore, the ultimate truth of God, and the One Who had revealed it was none other than God Himself, through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. And Jesus Himself had made known to His disciples on more than one occasion, that only He alone knows the truth about God, for no one who did not come from the Lord would know the truth. Because Jesus Himself is God, certainly He has the full knowledge of truth.

And what is this truth, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is what all of us Christians need to know, for it lies at the very centre of our faith, at the very heart of all that we believe in Christ. First of all, we all believe in the One and only One True God, Who is beyond compare and Almighty, and there is no other god besides Him. All the other gods and deities are pagans and of false origins, for it is the Lord our God Who is the Creator of everything in the universe, and therefore He is the Master of all.

Then, secondly, we believe that while there is only One and only One God, but that same God has in existence three distinct Divine Persons, namely the Father, the Son and then the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son and not the Holy Spirit, and vice versa, the Son is not the Father or the Holy Spirit, and thus, the Holy Spirit is also not the Son, or the Father. Each of the three Divine Persons are distinct, and yet at the same time, they are indivisible and inseparable from each other.

For all the three Divine Persons of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit all form the indivisible unity of the One and only God, the Creator, Lord and Master of all the universe. Without any one of the three Divine Persons, the whole unity of Divinity will be imperfect, and truly, we cannot separate one from the other without disrupting and distorting completely the truth about the Lord our God, in Whom we believe.

If you find this explanation to be difficult, it is perfectly understandable, for all these things have been revealed to us by the Lord, as matters that are beyond our normal human and worldly understanding. These are supernatural and spiritual matter which our senses cannot identify and distinguish directly, and therefore, our faith in what the Lord had told us is important.

And how did we know about all of these? How did we receive all of these truths? It is because all of these truths, the teachings of our faith and all that the Lord Jesus has revealed to us mankind through His disciples have been preserved through the Holy Mother Church, to which we belong to. It was through the Church that we have received our faith, for it had preserved the truth via its sacred traditions, and through the compilation of the sacred texts and Gospels into what we now know as the Holy Bible.

And the saints who have preceded us have also taught us in various ways on how to understand the concept of the Holy Trinity, most famous of which was done by St. Patrick, the well known patron saint of Ireland, who was a great missionary that laid the foundation of the faith in Ireland, formerly a deeply pagan country, worshipping pagan idols and gods, but ever since St. Patrick brought them the truth of God, many and eventually all of them converted to the true faith.

St. Patrick used the example of a three-leaf clover, which is a common plant easily found in Ireland. The three-leaf clover is a unique leaf, which leaf blade does not consist of just one singular leaf, or many leaves joined together by their leaf stalks. Instead, the three-leaf clover has its leaves consisting of three leaf blades that are at the same time conjoined together into a singular leaf. Thus, just like the Holy Trinity, each of the three leaf blades are distinct from each other, and one can see that there are indeed three leaves, and yet, at the same time, there is as a whole, only one leaf.

We cannot detach any one part of the three-leaf clover and still call it a three-leaf clover. A three-leaf clover is only so when all the three leaf parts are attached and intact. In the similar way, we cannot separate any parts of the Most Holy Trinity, the Father from the Son or from the Holy Spirit, and vice versa. They are three Divine Persons, distinct from each other, and yet part of a perfect and indivisible unity as part of a singular and One Godhood.

Using another example, which Jesus had used in His parables, we can also liken the Holy Trinity to salt and light of a candle. How do we know that a certain substance is salt, and not some other substances? That is because, first of all, when we touch salt, it has its crystalline structure, which is clearly different from for example sugar, and even other crystalline sugars like rock sugars and crystal sugars.

And then, when we look at salt, its appearance can be distinguished from that of other substances. We will know if something is not salt by the appearance, and also by the shape and the feel of the crystalline structure as mentioned. And finally, we can taste the salt. Salt has that saltiness taste that makes it to be so useful and favourable by many cultures. Without that saltiness, salt is useless.

Similarly, with regards to flame and candles, the flame provides light to all who sees it, as well as heat. In the past, people do not have electricity as we have nowadays. Therefore, at nighttime, people always live in darkness, and they use the lighted candles to give them light, in order to allow them to do their night activities. And there is no source of heat beside flame, for which reason in winter time or in cold night, people warm themselves around fireplaces and bonfires.

A flame consists of its light, its heat and finally its shape. If a flame has lost its heat, or somehow is devoid of heat, can we still call it as a flame? Surely not. Similarly, if a flame no longer emits light, and therefore cannot be seen, is it still a flame? Certainly it is not either. Therefore, it is the same with the Holy Trinity, for our Lord and God consists of the three Divine Persons that are distinct as much as the heat, light and the shape of the flame is different from each other, and inseparable from each other forming a perfect and indivisible union.

And how is our belief in the Most Holy Trinity important to us as Christians? That is because the whole history of our salvation and creation has been made possible by the works of God, Who is in everything and has been present in everything. The Father willed all things into creation, while the Word of God, the Son, is what the Father used to will all things into being, for example, as He said the words, “Let there be light.”

And the Holy Spirit is in everything, the source of all creation, of all life, through which God made all things into being and possible. The three Divine Persons are at work throughout our creation and our salvation. The Father loves each and every one of us whom He had created, and as the Gospel mentioned today, that because of that love, He sent to us His only begotten Son, the Word of God, Who took up the flesh and nature of Man, and became Man for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Through our Lord Jesus, His loving sacrifice on the cross, and by His giving of His own Precious Body and Blood for all of us, He has united all of us, those who believe in Him, to Him, and He is present in all of us, which He affirmed to us, by sending us all, the same Holy Spirit which is part of Him, Who is in us now, giving us the strength and courage to go on living our lives with faith.

All of us have therefore been sealed with the seal of the Most Holy Trinity, of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, beginning with our baptism, be it as babies or as adults, when we were baptised in Their Name. And the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Confirmation, see the Lord Himself dwelling in each and every one of us, who have become the Temple of His Most Holy Presence.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, now that we know what the Holy Trinity of our Lord is truly about, and how we ought to explain it to others who are misinformed or are curious about it, and how they have worked together in creation and our salvation, as Christians, all of us are tasked to fulfil what the Lord had commanded us all, that is to call all peoples and all the nations, and baptise them in the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

As such, all of us need to be exemplary in our faith, to do what He has taught us to do, to love Him with all of our heart, and by showing genuine devotion, spending our time with the Lord Who has loved us so much, that He gave us His only Son. And by following in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus, by being humble and obedient, let us all show all the others, especially those who have yet to know about the Lord, that they too, hopefully will also be touched in their hearts, and come to believe in Him.

It is too often that Christians are divided against each other, and we are easily affected by our ego and conflicting human desires, that we bring even suffering and difficulties to our fellow men, even to fellow Christians. If our Lord and God is perfectly united in love, Three Divine Persons as One, then how can we call ourselves as Christians if we do not love one another and are divided against each other?

Let us all thus put our complete trust in the Most Holy Trinity, and as Christians, strive to do our best to glorify Their great and glorious Name. Let us be united with one another and not be divided, and remain as one people, just as They are One. Let us all be exemplary in all of our actions and deeds, and let us all renew our commitment to live faithfully, beginning from ourselves, and then to our families and communities, that more and more people will believe in the Most Holy Trinity, and receive salvation through that faith. May God, the Most Holy Trinity, bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 11 June 2017 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday and Feast of St. Barnabas, Apostle (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
John 3 : 16-18

At that time, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Yes, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through Him the world is to be saved.”

“Whoever believes in Him will not be condemned. He who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God.”