Sunday, 4 June 2023 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday, the Sunday after the Pentecost Sunday, all of us, the whole Church celebrates the occasion of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, also known as Trinity Sunday. This Sunday marks a very important celebration for the Church as it commemorates one of the most crucial, distinctive and central tenets of our Christian faith. It is our belief in the Holy Trinity that sets us apart from any other monotheistic faith and beliefs, because while we truly believe in the Oneness of God, and that there is no other God besides Him, but at the same time, we believe that our One and only God exists in Three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. That is what our belief in the Most Holy Trinity is all about, and which we focus on in this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

It is also interesting that we always celebrate this Trinity Sunday at the Sunday immediately following the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday that marked the descent of the Holy Spirit on the people of God, on the Church. This is a reminder that all of us as part of the same Church of God has always been guided by the Lord all the same, willed into being by our Father and Creator, and with the Son having dwelled amongst us and walked with us, touching us all with His Presence in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, and finally, the Holy Spirit, the Lord and the Giver of life, have descended upon us, giving us the Wisdom, strength and courage to live our lives with great faith and commitment to God. Thus, in all aspects and parts of our lives, we always have God ever present by our side, with us, the same one and only True God.

Ever since the very beginning of the Church, the Apostles and the earliest Church fathers, bishops and priests and other Christians have testified and recorded the belief in the Triune God and in the Trinitarian nature of the Lord. While there were those who debated on whether the Lord Jesus was truly the Son of God or whether He was equal to the Father, or whether He was just like us, any other human beings, but most of the Church fathers and early Christians subscribed to the teachings and path that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, was truly born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, His Mother, and yet, is not merely just the Son of Man, but also the Son of God in the flesh, assuming our human existence and our form so that He might make His love to become tangible, real and approachable by us. By the will of the Father and by the power of the Holy Spirit, dwelling within Mary, the Divine Messiah was conceived in her, as the Son of God Most High made Man.

If there were indeed many of those who refused to believe that this was possible, or that the historical Man named Jesus Christ was truly the Son of God, Equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, then we must remember that everything is possible for God. If He could make the blind to see again, restore the sick and those who were dying, casting out demons and evil spirits, and raising the dead back to life, and if He could make the barren ones like Sarah, Hannah and Elizabeth to bear a child in their barrenness, and for Mary to have a Son without any human intervention and action, then everything is truly possible for God. Not only that but the Lord Jesus Himself has mentioned the Holy Trinity most clearly in the Great Commission that He entrusted to His disciples and followers, the mission of His Church which still continues to this very moment.

The Lord said, ‘Go and make disciples of all the nations, and baptise them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.’ Through this simple and direct instruction, the Lord has made it truly clear of the connection and the equal nature between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus has often referred to the Father in Heaven as His heavenly Father, and referring to Himself as the Son. If the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are referring to different beings, how can we then reconcile our believe in the one and only true God as the Church fathers and the old Jewish and Israelite faith and customs had believed? Therefore, each of the members of the Holy Trinity must indeed be referring to the same God, that has manifested in Three Divine Persons, namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Throughout the Scriptures, we can find clear indication how the Lord has revealed Himself in His identity as the Holy Trinity, the Triune God, One God consisting of Three distinct Persons, and Three Persons united indivisibly as One God. At the very beginning when God created all things, the three members of the Holy Trinity were already present, highlighting our belief in the Co-Equal and Co-Eternal nature of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and also their consubstantial nature, having the same Divine essence and substance, with the Father being fully God and Divine, and so is the Son and so is the Holy Spirit. At the beginning, God the Father willed all things to be created, from nothingness into being, and He did so, as we read in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, through His Word, and this was referred to at the beginning of the Gospel of St. John.

St. John began his Gospel with ‘In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God; He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing came to be.’ Through this part from St. John’s Gospel we are reminded that the Word of God was the means through which God created all of us, and this Word of God is the Son, just as St. John further continued on with, ‘And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; and we have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father.’ which highlighted to us that the Word of God, the Divine Logos Himself, has become Man, taking up our existence and appearance, becoming fully Divine and fully Man in the Person of Jesus Christ, the One through Whom God’s love and truth have been made tangible and approachable to all of us. The Lord Jesus Himself said to Nicodemus, that God so loved the world, that He sent unto us His beloved Son, to save the world, and He did indeed save the world, by His death on the Cross.

Then, the Holy Spirit, in the Book of Genesis was described as being present throughout the whole thing before existence and before creation, and through the Holy Spirit, the world has life, just as we said in the Creed, ‘I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and the Giver of Life’ and the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son, as the Holy Spirit came unto us from the Father, Who willed that His Spirit came unto us, and by His Word, everything came to be. At Pentecost, which we have just celebrated last Sunday, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord, strengthening them and empowering them just as the Lord Jesus, the Son, has promised that the Father would send them the Holy Spirit. It was through the same Spirit that all of us have received life as well, and those who have received the Holy Spirit, that is all of us, have received more fully the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Now, we can all see how the Holy Trinity has always worked together, in perfect harmony with each other. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all worked together and were united in purpose and action, as although They are Three distinct Persons, but They are indivisible and inseparable from each other, and is part of one Godhood. It is wrong to say that the Father is the Son, or the Holy Spirit, or vice versa as They are all distinct from each other. But They exist together in one perfect union of love that cannot be separated, by anyone or anything. The Father is fully God, just as the Son is fully God, and the Holy Spirit is also fully God, all sharing the same Godhood, the one and only True God. This is something which some people find hard to accept or to understand, and some failed to believe it because they thought that they knew things better. But God and His mysteries are far more than what we can comprehend with our minds alone.

There are many ways for us to understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity better, one of which is the famous shamrock or three-leaf clover that St. Patrick used in his missionary work in Ireland, as he utilised it to explain better the mystery of the Holy Trinity to those whom he was evangelising and preaching the Good News so that they may know God and His truth and identity better. The shamrock or the three-leaf clover is a leaf composed of three leaf blades conjoined together as one leaf. We can clearly see that there are three parts of the one leaf, that are distinct from each other and yet each of them are inseparable from each other without diminishing and changing the whole leaf. In the same way therefore, each of the members of the Holy Trinity are distinct from each other while at the same time being indivisibly united as One, and we cannot take One out of the Three without diminishing or changing the nature of God.

Another way is to use the symbolism of a flame, which can also be used to represent somewhat the concept of the Holy Trinity. Flame has three dimensions just as the Holy Trinity is composed of three Members or Persons. Flame consists of its heat, its light as well as its appearance and shape, all three of which makes up a flame as we all know it. We can feel the heat from the flame of a burning object, and we can see the illumination from the light given off by the flame, and we can see the shape of the flame itself as it burns brightly. If we are to remove the heat from the flame, it will indeed be very strange to be able to see a flame and yet without its heat, or if we remove the light instead, to see a flame with its heat, but not being able to see the light that it should have illuminated the room with. Through this comparison, we can see that each aspects of the flame are distinct from each other, and yet, each one of them describe what the whole full flame is all about, and we cannot subtract one from the whole or else we diminish or make the whole unrecognisable and different.

In the same manner therefore, the Holy Trinity is indeed composed of Three Divine Persons, the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, each of Whom are equally Divine, equal in their substance and essence, equal in their Lordship and Existence from time immemorial, before even time and existence themselves began. They are Co-Equal and Co-Eternal, distinct from each other and yet at the same time, being perfectly united as the One and only One True God of all. That is what we believe in as Christians, in God Who is One but Three, and Who is also Three but One. One God, One Godhood but Three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Each of the Three Divine Persons show the different aspects of the One Godhood, and which are perfectly united and are in harmony with each other in the perfect union of perfect love that is found in God alone.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, while we may try to make the concept of the Holy Trinity better understood, as how the Church fathers and others like St. Patrick had done, and as I had attempted to explain and elaborate on ways to understand the Holy Trinity mystery better, but the reality is that, this most important tenet of our faith is indeed a mystery that can never actually be fully understood by our minds and intelligence alone. We have to understand and appreciate the Holy Trinity through the eyes of faith, and by listening to God Himself speaking to us through the Wisdom He has given us through the Holy Spirit. That is how we can truly understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity, guided by the Lord and His love, His Wisdom and His providence.

And we should not try to seek to know the fullness of the truth behind the Holy Trinity, as St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the most brilliant among the Church fathers and a Doctor of the Church can show us, in how when he was pondering about the mystery of the Holy Trinity, he encountered a young boy by the seashore, pouring the water of the sea into a small hole using a seashell. When St. Augustine asked the boy, the boy responded saying that he was pouring the whole entire sea into the small hole, which was impossible, and when St. Augustine mentioned that to the young boy, it was when the young boy, which was a vision for St. Augustine to remind him, responded that the same applies therefore to his attempts to understand the Holy Trinity, as it is impossible for the limited human mind and intelligence to be able to contain and understand the full nature of the Holy Trinity.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore reflect carefully on our faith in our God, the Most Holy Trinity of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Let us all do whatever we can to believe wholeheartedly in Him, and entrusting ourselves to His Providence so that we may truly live our lives worthy of God, guided by the will of the Father, led by the examples of the Son, and encouraged by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. May our lives be the shining beacons of light and truth of God to many others who journey together with us and encounter us at each and every moments. May our Lord, the Most Holy Trinity, continue to bless us and guide us throughout our lives, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 4 June 2023 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (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.”

Sunday, 4 June 2023 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

2 Corinthians 13 : 11-13

Finally, brothers and sisters, be happy, strive to be perfect, have courage, be of one mind and live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.

The grace of Christ Jesus the Lord, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Sunday, 4 June 2023 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Daniel 3 : 52, 53, 54, 55, 56

Blessed are You, Lord, God of our fathers, be praised and exalted forever. Blessed is Your holy and glorious Name, celebrated and exalted forever.

Blessed are You in the Temple of Your sacred glory, Your praises are sung forever.

Blessed are You on the throne of Your kingdom, honoured and glorified forever.

Blessed are You Who fathom the depths, Who are enthroned on the Cherubim, praised and exalted forever.

Blessed are You in the firmament of heaven, praised and glorified forever.

Sunday, 4 June 2023 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Exodus 34 : 4b-6, 8-9

Then Moses rose early in the morning and went up Mount Sinai as YHVH had commanded, taking in his hands the two slabs of stone. And YHVH came down in a cloud and stood there with him, and Moses called on the Name of YHVH.

Then YHVH passed in front of him and cried out, “YHVH, YHVH is a God full of pity and mercy, slow to anger and abounding in truth and loving-kindness.”

Moses hastened to bow down to the ground and worshipped. He then said, “If You really look kindly on me, my Lord, please come and walk in our midst and even though we are a stiff-necked people, pardon our wickedness and our sin and make us Yours.”

Sunday, 28 May 2023 : Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday marks the last day of the glorious and most joyful season of Easter, with this celebration of the Solemnity of the Pentecost Sunday, marking the time when the Holy Spirit came down upon all the Apostles and disciples of the Lord, bestowing upon them the many gifts that God has promised, as well as the Wisdom, guidance and courage that would strengthen many of those disciples in their ministry and works, marking the moment when the Church was truly born. That is why this Pentecost celebration is sometimes also known as the ‘Birthday of the Church’ as prior to the Pentecost moment, all the disciples were filled with fear and uncertainty, hiding from the Jewish authorities and others who opposed the Lord and their works. Through the Holy Spirit, the great Advocate and Helper from the Lord, God has truly given us all the renewal and the encouragement we all needed to embark in our mission as Christians.

In our first reading today, we heard of the traditional account of the moment of the Pentecost from the Acts of the Apostles. detailing to us what happened on that day as the great tongues of flame of the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven upon all of the Apostles and the other disciples assembled in the same room, from which they immediately burst forth to proclaim courageously the truth and Good News of God to everyone who were assembled in Jerusalem for the Pentecost festival, that happened fifty days after the Passover. The Holy Spirit did not just give them the strength and courage to carry out the mission that they had been entrusted with, overcoming the fears in their hearts and minds, but also gave them the Wisdom and eloquence to speak the truth with great intellect and understanding of the truth, as well as the miraculous gift of speaking in tongues, allowing many people to understand them all at the same time.

The huge number of people who came to Jerusalem came from both the Jewish diaspora and also other foreigners who were interested to know more about the Lord, as were other travellers and people who came to enjoy the festivities, all coming from different parts of the world and speaking different languages, and yet all of them could miraculously comprehend what the disciples of the Lord were preaching to them. That is what the Holy Spirit had done upon us all as well, by bringing unto us the unity and harmony that restored our unity as one flock of the Lord, one Church of God. This unity had once been broken and shattered because of our sins and pride, our disobedience against God, like what one of the Old Testament passages from the Vigil of the Pentecost last night highlighted to us regarding the well-known story of the Tower of Babel, where human pride and arrogance led to them being scattered and their languages confused by God.

The Holy Spirit therefore came down upon us, uniting us and bringing us to once again live in harmony as one people of God, one Church, giving us the gifts to live worthily as Christians, as God’s people and to proclaim His Good News and truth to renew the world. The Holy Spirit has been given to us so that we all may carry on the missions entrusted by the Lord to His Church and disciples, to gather all the scattered people and those whom He loved from all over the whole world. Through the Holy Spirit, the Church was made tangible as the disciples no longer hid themselves but went forth with great courage to call on more and more people to turn back towards the Lord and to repent from their sins. Right from the very first day of the Church’s visible existence at Pentecost, according to the Acts of the Apostles, three thousand people chose to be baptised and therefore laid the foundations for the growing Christian community.

The Lord gave the Holy Spirit to His disciples, who then passed on the same Holy Spirit to the rest of the Church, giving all of its members, including all of us a variety of gifts and blessings, abilities and opportunities as we have heard from our second reading today, from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians. Through the Holy Spirit, St. Paul mentioned that we have been given diverse and different gifts, graces and blessings, and made to be one people regardless of our origin and background. Thus, there should be no longer be discrimination or attitudes that show elitism or contempt within the Church from one to another just because a certain part or member of the Church felt that he or she is better and more pious compared to others, or more capable and worthy than their fellow brothers and sisters. All of us are equal before the Lord our God and we are equally beloved as well.

The Holy Spirit has given us all many gifts and this is what we should be reflecting on this day as we celebrate this glorious occasion, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the birthday of the Church and the end of the glorious Easter season. We must first realise that the joy and the spirit of Easter must not end with today’s celebration. Rather, we have to carry on living our Christian lives with zeal and courage, to continue doing what we have done thus far, in doing God’s will and in carrying out whatever missions and opportunities we have been given. It is also an important reminder for each one of us that we have been given different calling and vocations in life, and this means that in whatever areas and in whichever vocation that we have, we should do what we can do to glorify God and to proclaim His Good News, and more often than not, this requires us to live our Christian lives well, to be genuinely and fully faithful in our lives to God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all hence remind ourselves to let the Holy Spirit guide us and strengthen us each day and at every moments, so that we may always be good role models and sources of inspiration for one another in faith, continuing what the Lord has asked us to do, to be missionary and evangelising in our own respective communities. Let our actions, words and deeds, and our every interactions and works inspire more and more people, touch their hearts and minds so that they may come ever closer to God and that they may know the Lord and His truth better. Through all these, many more people and many more souls will come ever closer to God’s salvation, and each one of us have important parts to play in this. All of us are important in the Church’s efforts for the conversion of souls, and each one of our little actions do really matter.

May the Risen Lord be with us and His Church always, and may the Holy Spirit continue to guide and strengthen us, inflame and encourage us that we may always be firm in our faith and actions, and do our best to reach out to others with exemplary and shining faith in God. May the Holy Spirit lead us and help us to serve God ever more courageously and may all of us be strengthened in all things, now and always, forevermore. Come, Holy Spirit and renew the face of the Earth, and come to bless and strengthen us, give us the courage and desire to continue to do God’s will, at all times. Amen.

Sunday, 28 May 2023 : Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 20 : 19-23

At that time, on the evening of the day when Jesus rose from the dead, the first day after the Sabbath, the doors were locked where the disciples were, because of their fear of the Jews. But Jesus came, and stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you!” Then He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples kept looking at the Lord and were full of joy.

Again Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.” After saying this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit! Those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; those whose sins you retain, they are retained.”

Sunday, 28 May 2023 : Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

1 Corinthians 12 : 3b-7, 12-13

No one can say, “Jesus is the Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There is diversity of gifts, but the Spirit is the same. There is diversity of ministries, but the Lord is the same. There is diversity of works, but the same God works in all.

The Spirit reveals His presence in each one with a gift that is also a service. As the body is one, having many members, and all the members, while being many, form one body, so it is with Christ. All of us, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, have been baptised in one Spirit to form one body and all of us have been given to drink from the one Spirit.

Sunday, 28 May 2023 : Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 103 : 1ab and 24ac, 29bc-30, 31 and 34

Bless the Lord, my soul! Clothed in majesty and splendour; How varied o Lord, are Your works! The earth full of Your creatures.

You take away their breath, they expire and return to dust. When You send forth Your Spirit, they are created, and the face of the earth is renewed.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in His works! May my song give Him pleasure, as the Lord gives me delight.

Sunday, 28 May 2023 : Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Acts 2 : 1-11

When the day of Pentecost came, the disciples of Jesus were all together in one place. And suddenly out of the sky came a sound like a strong rushing wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared tongues as if of fire which parted and came to rest upon each one of them. All were filled with Holy Spirit and began to speak other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

Staying in Jerusalem were religious Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered, all excited because each heard them speaking in his own language. Full of amazement and wonder, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? How is it that we hear them in our own native language?”

“Here are Parthians, Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and foreigners who accept Jewish beliefs, Cretians and Arabians; and all of us hear them proclaiming in our own language what God, the Saviour, does.”