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, 20 May 2018 : Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this great occasion we celebrate together as one united and one Universal Church, the Solemnity of the Pentecost, marking the moment when the Church was born and began to make its mark in this world, through the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples and the Apostles of the Lord. The Holy Spirit was promised by the Lord Jesus, as the Advocate and Guide, that would be with His disciples, and would empower them for the missions they had been entrusted with.

The coming of the Holy Spirit transformed all the disciples who received this great gift from God, for they were initially afraid and in fact, paranoid over the threats from the Pharisees and the chief priests who sternly warned all those who believe and preach in the Lord’s Name. They locked themselves up in the room, just as we heard from the accounts of the Lord’s appearances to them after His resurrection. They were plagued with fear and lack of faith.

But God reassured them that He would not leave them or abandon them. Not only that He would always with be them, at their side, all the time, but He would also send the Holy Spirit Who would reveal to them the entirety of the truth which He had taught and delivered unto this world. And indeed, that was what happened. The tongues of flame that descended upon the disciples gave them the truth, as well as the courage needed to speak up that truth and deliver the truth to others around them.

That was how they went out to speak courageously among the people who were gathered in Jerusalem for the festival, each hearing the disciples spoke in his or her own language. This is truly significant in symbolism, as the first reading from the Vigil Mass spoke about the Tower of Babel in the Book of Genesis. The Tower of Babel represented mankind’s failed attempt to claim greatness and glory, as they attempted to surpass God by building up a tower reaching up to the heavens itself.

God scattered them all by confusing their languages, and no one could understand what the others were talking about. As such, the division prevented the great Tower of Babel from being completed. Then, in the end, God countered this, by sending His Holy Spirit, that granted those who believe in Him, the spirit of true comprehension and understanding of the truth, and the gift of tongues, of speaking in various languages, the exact opposite of what had happened at the Tower of Babel.

Mankind have detached themselves from God, by their disobedience that led to sin. Sin, just as the wickedness shown by the people who were building the Tower of Babel showed that by doing what is haughty, arrogant and unbecoming of God’s people, we have deserved the consequence of division and separation, and as a result, that is why there are still so many souls out there, because God’s light and truth have not materialised in these people, and many of them have not yet received or accepted that truth.

This means that the Holy Spirit is not just the bearer of truth, but also unity. For it was through the Holy Spirit that the fullness of truth had been revealed to us, and those who put their faith and commit themselves to this fullness of truth, belong to the one and only Church of God, that is, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the one and united Body of Christ, under the leadership of Christ’s Vicar, the Pope, successor of St. Peter the Apostle.

And today, as I mentioned at the very start of today’s discourse, we celebrate the anniversary of the birthday of the Church, for the Church which Christ established on this world, became tangible and real at the Pentecost, as the disciples went forth from their hiding place, and courageously spoke in front of the multitudes of people, and converted not less than three thousand among them, and those together with the disciples and the Apostles, formed the first foundation and beginning of the Church.

It was this event, which highlighted to us the most important and fundamental mission of the Church, that is the missionary and evangelistic calling to all Christians, as members of God’s Church, to proclaim the truth we have received and kept, to all the peoples, of all the nations, just as He commanded the disciples at the moment just before He ascended to heaven, the Great Commission that He gave to all of us, and which He entrusted all of us to do.

Unfortunately, many of us have not realised this fact, and this obligation which we have as Christians. Instead, the sad reality is that, many of us are still lukewarm about our faith, and we do not truly understand what our faith is about. And that is how many of us ended up falling back into our old ways, into wickedness and sin, and we end up like the people building the Tower of Babel once again, sundered and separated, this time from the unity with God in His Church.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I am speaking to you about the real crisis facing many of us Christians living in today’s world. There are many among us, who leave the Church and become Christians on paper and in formality only, after we completed our faith formation and catechism, the turning point often quoted being the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is at the reception of this holy Sacrament of Confirmation that we are confirmed in our faith by the Holy Spirit.

Unfortunately, many of us considered that, both the confirmands and the family members, as a mere rite of passage, that is once done, is done and nothing else need to be done. That is simply not true, brothers and sisters in Christ. The Holy Spirit that God has given us, has given us the principal gifts of love, hope and faith, as well as the well-known seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, that is Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord.

But all these will remain dormant and will be meaningless unless we truly practice our faith and live our lives in accordance with our faith. And this is where I want to remind us all about a parable that Christ had shared with His disciples, that is the parable of the sower. In that parable, which I am sure many of us are quite familiar with, the Lord Jesus shared with us about the seeds that the sower planted, which fell on different types of soil, and how only in the rich and fertile soil, that the seeds grew into crop-bearing plants with much produce.

In that parable, we heard how the Lord spoke of those whose seeds fell into barren soil, or place where brambles and thorns grew, or on the roadside and picked up by birds, which all spoke of the obstacles and challenges, and all the temptations and hurdles awaiting all of us as Christians in our attempt and journey to live a faithful life accentuated by living and genuine Christian faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us spend some time to reflect on our own individual lives, and in how we have lived our lives thus far, and how we have interacted with one another, as well as in our relationship with God. How many times has it been that we are jealous at one another, or become angry at one another, just because we refuse to back down from our pride and ego?

And how many of us truly reflect a genuine and authentic Christian faith in our respective lives? How many of us have instead been so preoccupied with our busy schedules and worldly pursuits, of power, of wealth, of fame and affluence, of pleasures of the body and the flesh, and many other tempting things, that we forgot to act as good and committed Christians? I am sure that many of us have fallen into these traps of the devil before.

Therefore, now, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all seek a thorough and complete transformation of ourselves, in our whole being, that while once we were separated from God and living in ignorance and darkness, now through the Holy Spirit, we have received the fullness of truth and faith, and we ought to make use of those wonderful gifts God had given us, or else, our faith is shallow, dead and empty.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in our respective lives, and let us pray to God, that through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we may be transformed completely, and changed profoundly, to be true disciples and beloved children of God, who are worthy partakers of God’s everlasting Covenant. May the Lord be with us always, and may the Holy Spirit guide our path always. Come, Holy Spirit and fill our hearts with God truth and love. Amen.

Sunday, 20 May 2018 : Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 15 : 26-27 and John 16 : 12-15

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “From the Father, I will send you the Spirit of truth. When this Helper has come from the Father, He will be My witness, and you, too, will be My witnesses, for you have been with Me from the beginning. I still have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now. When He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into the whole truth.”

“For He will not speak of His own authority, but will speak what He hears, and He will tell you about the things which are to come. He will take what is Mine and make it known to you; in doing this, He will glorify Me. All that the Father has is Mine; for this reason, I told you that the Spirit will take what is Mine, and make it known to you.”

Sunday, 20 May 2018 : Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Galatians 5 : 16-25

Therefore, I say to you : walk according to the Spirit and do not give way to the desires of the flesh! For the desires of the flesh war against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are opposed to the flesh. Both are in conflict with each other, so that you cannot do everything you would like. But when you are led by the Spirit you are not under the Law.

You know what comes from the flesh : fornication, impurity and shamelessness, idol worship and sorcery, hatred, jealousy and violence, anger, ambition, division, factions, and envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like. I again say to you what I have already said : those who do these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy and peace, patience, understanding of others, kindness and fidelity, gentleness and self-control. For such things there is no law or punishment. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its vices and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us live in a spiritual way.

Sunday, 20 May 2018 : 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, 20 May 2018 : 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.”