Sunday, 16 June 2019 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday after the Solemnity of the Pentecost, the Universal Church again celebrates another great and very important Solemnity, one that is concerning the very centre tenet and distinctiveness of our Christian faith that is the belief in God Who exists in Three Divine Persons and yet, at the same time, is also One and Indivisible. And that is why on this Sunday, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

On this day, we focus our attention on Who we worship, God Who is ever loving, merciful and compassionate towards us, He Who is One, and only One, but existing in Three distinct Persons, namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The true nature of the Most Holy Trinity has eluded many people and many among us the faithful throughout time, but all of us must realise and know Who is Our Lord Whom we worship, so that we can better appreciate our faith in Him.

We do not believe in three different Gods, as the most common misconception about the Most Holy Trinity is often about. We believe that even though there is distinction between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, but they exist in perfect unity and harmony with each other, as the one and only True God. Three Divine Persons but One Unity in One Godhood. That is what the Most Holy Trinity is about.

Yet, throughout the history of the Church, particularly during the early days of Christianity, people constantly were conflicted on the nature of their God, and there had been many divisions, conflicts, disagreements and bitterness over the nature of the Most Holy Trinity, the relationship that the Father has the Son, and with the Holy Spirit, and the nature of the Son Himself, the relationship that He has with the Father, and also with the Holy Spirit.

And there were those who doubted and questioned the divinity of the Son in particular, those who doubted that Jesus Christ Our Lord is God as well as Man in the same person. And there were those, like the Arians, who considered Christ as being lesser than the Father. They regarded Him as a Being Who was created and therefore not equal with the Father, not co-eternal with Him. And therefore, they did not believe in the Most Holy Trinity in the way we believe today.

At that time, many people actually subscribed to the teachings and the faith of Arius, the one who propagated the Arian heresy. And there were bitter struggle for the belief of the faithful as those bishops and priests who remained true to the orthodox and genuine Christian teachings struggled with the many bishops and priests who embraced Arianism. And one of the most courageous and faithful defender of the true faith was St. Athanasius, the Patriarch of Alexandria, whose defence of the faith in the Most Holy Trinity and the equality between the Son and the Father is memorialised in the now famous Athanasian Creed.

The Athanasian Creed was an expansion of the usual Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed we have always used, in which the Athanasian Creed is a much more detailed and clearer version of the Creed where in particular, the nature of the Most Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit is explained clearly and succinctly against the heresies of the time that tried to diminish the Holy Trinity or mislead the people with wrong ideas and thoughts about the Trinity.

In the first part of the Athanasian Creed, it is clearly mentioned that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three equal parts of the One Godhood of our one and only True God, avoiding the idea of worship of more than one god and at the same time, also stressing on the importance and distinctiveness of each of the three members of the Most Holy Trinity. The Father is not the same as the Son, and the Son is not the same as the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the same as the Father, and yet all three are united perfectly and indivisibly as one indissoluble union of perfect love.

And being equal, the Son and the Holy Spirit are not submitted to the Father or less equal from the Father in anything, neither created nor made. The Son of God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, has existed with the Father from the very beginning, from before the beginning of time, co-equal, co-eternal and equally omnipotent and Almighty. He is not created but rather begotten from the Father, remaining distinct and yet inseparable from the Father and the Holy Spirit. He assumed the appearance and flesh of man, uniting in Himself, the Divinity of the Son of God and the humanity of the Son of Man.

The Holy Spirit meanwhile is also co-equal, co-eternal and omnipotent as well as Almighty as the Father and the Son is. He is not created by the Father either, nor is subservient or created or begotten from the Father or from the Son. Rather in this case, the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son, equal in all things, and is God’s Spirit that is in all things and performs His works in all things.

Many have tried to explain the concept of the Most Holy Trinity, with St. Patrick of Ireland being the most prominent one. St. Patrick made use of the three-leaf shamrock as a way for him to explain the Trinity of Christian God to the pagans then living in the land that is now called Ireland. He used the three-leaf shamrock, now closely associated with St. Patrick himself, as the representation of the Most Holy Trinity, as if any of the three leaves is taken out, the whole shamrock becomes incomplete.

Therefore, just as a person can clearly distinguish each of the three leaves of the three-leaf shamrock, we can distinguish between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit clearly. But at the same time, they are also perfectly united as One, just as the three-leaf shamrock is part of the one whole shamrock leaf, which if any of the parts are taken out, the whole shamrock becomes incomplete just as the Most Holy Trinity is not complete without any one of its members.

Another way for us to try to explain the concept of the Most Holy Trinity is that of a lighted candle. A lighted candle has three main important properties, that is the light produced by the candle, the heat produced by the candle and the flame produced by the candle burning. All these three cannot be separated from each other and yet they are also easily distinguishable from each other.

The candle cannot have light without the burning flame, and without the flame there can be no heat either. And neither can there be flame without heat to make the candle burn in the first place, and with heat energy comes light that is produced by the heat of the reactions of the burning of the candle wax. And lastly, without light, it does not make sense for a candle that is burning to have no light, as flame always produces light and heat.

We can see from this example alone, how flame, light and heat are easily distinguishable from each other, as the light is clearly different from the heat, and flame itself is distinct from the light. The flame has a limited shape but the light illuminates the entire room far beyond the physical reach of the burning flame, and the heat can be felt on our bodies when we stand nearby the burning candle. Yet, each one of them cannot be separated from the other, or else we would not have a burning candle.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, having listened to what the Most Holy Trinity is all about, and how we try to explain this concept both to ourselves and to others, now that we have probably greater understanding and grasp of this concept, we must then also be aware of the significance of the Most Holy Trinity of Our God to ourselves as Christians. We must first and foremost remember that as Christians we are called to model ourselves on God Whom we believe in.

If Our God exists in a perfect love and harmony in the Most Holy Trinity of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, then surely our Christian communities must also have this same love within us, that in the Church of God to which we belong to, we must be united in love and not being divided one against the other. And each and every one of us, just like the members of the Holy Trinity, are unique and have our own distinctiveness that we can bring in to enrich the good works and wonders of the Church of God.

Are we able to practice what we believe in the nature of our loving Triune God, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit in our own lives? Are we able to imitate the loving examples and unity of the Three Divine Persons in our own Christian communities united in love and harmony with each other? This is how we as Christians reflect God in our own lives, in showing the same love that He has within Himself, which He has shared with us and now, we share with one another.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all renew our faith, commitment and devotion to Our God, the Most Holy Trinity of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Let us all be witnesses of our faith in Him, in each and every moments we live, in our every actions so that all the people around us may see our faith and come to believe in God, the Most Holy Trinity as well, fulfilling what He has commanded us all to do, to make disciples of all people of all the nations and baptise them in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

Let us glorify our God, the Most Holy Trinity once more, with the prayer “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”

Sunday, 16 June 2019 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 16 : 12-15

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “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. He has nothing to say of Himself, but He will speak of what He hears, and He will tell you of the things 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; because of this, I have just told you that the Spirit will take what is Mine, and make it known to you.”

Sunday, 16 June 2019 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Romans 5 : 1-5

By faith, we have received true righteousness, and we are at peace with God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Through Him, we obtain this favour, in which we remain, and we even boast to expect the glory of God.

Not only that, we also boast even in trials, knowing that trials produce patience, from patience comes merit; merit is the source of hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because the Holy Spirit has been given to us, pouring into our hearts the love of God.

Sunday, 16 June 2019 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 8 : 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

When I observe the heavens, the work of Your hands, the moon and the stars You set in their place – what is man that You be mindful of him, the Son of Man that You should care for Him?

Yet You made Him a little lower than the Angels; You crowned Him with glory and honour and gave Him the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.

Sheep and oxen without number and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea and all that swim the paths of the ocean.

Sunday, 16 June 2019 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Proverbs 8 : 22-31

YHVH created Me first, at the beginning of His works. He formed Me from of old, from eternity, even before the earth. The abyss did not exist when I was born, the springs of the sea had not gushed forth, the mountains were still not set in their place nor the hills, when I was born before He made the earth or countryside, or the first grains of the world’s dust.

I was there when He made the skies and drew the earth’s compass on the abyss, when He formed the clouds above and when the springs of the ocean emerged; when He made the sea with its limits, that it might not overflow. When He laid the foundations of the earth, I was close beside Him, the designer of His works, and I was His daily delight, forever playing in His presence, playing throughout the world and delighting to be with humans.

Sunday, 13 January 2019 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 3 : 15-16, 21-22

At that time, the people were wondering about John’s identity, “Could he be the Messiah?” Then John answered them, “I baptise you with water, but the One Who is coming will do much more : He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. As for me, I am not worthy to untie His sandal.”

Now, with all the people who came to be baptised, Jesus, too, was baptised. Then, while He was praying, the heavens opened : the Holy Spirit came down upon Him in the bodily form of a Dove, and a voice from Heaven was heard, “You are My Son, in Whom I am well pleased.”

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.