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, 22 May 2016 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Trinity Sunday and Memorial of St. Rita of Cascia, Religious (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we commemorate together a great solemnity and occasion, celebrating the mystery of our Lord and Master, Who is One and only One God, and yet, consisting of Three inseparable and equal Divine Persons. This is the mystery of the Holy Trinity of our God, One but Three, Three but One, equal and distinct, and united perfectly through perfect love.

This mystery is one of the most difficult aspects of our faith to be understood, as we have to realise that disagreements about the nature of our Lord and Divine Master had caused numerous divisions in the Church, with countless heresies and peoples claiming their own versions of the teachings to be correct. And most contentious of all was indeed the nature of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.

Throughout history, and even until this very day today, there are many peoples and groups who ridicule us Christians, the people of God, because of our believe in the Most Holy Trinity, One God with Three Divine Godheads. They thought that we are those who believe in many gods, like the pagans do. They ridiculed us because they misunderstood our faith, and what we believe, and Who we believe in.

There were those who thought that we were committing sacrilege and blasphemy against God, especially those who refused to believe in the nature of God as a Trinity. They thought that we are committing a great sin by thinking that we have three Gods instead of just one God. But that is exactly because they have failed to understand the truth about our Lord which He Himself had revealed to the world, to us all who believe in Him.

Then I should ask all of you, each and every one of us, to reflect on the Most Holy Trinity, about what we believe in our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Do we truly believe in the Most Holy Trinity? And in fact, do we mean what we always say, when we made the holy sign of the Cross? The Sign of the Cross is not just merely a symbol of victory and triumph over evil and death, but it is also the standard of the Most Holy Trinity.

When we mark ourselves with the Cross of Christ, do we feel proud of having been marked as the children and the possession of our God through the cross? Do we feel the pride of telling all that we believe in the Most Holy Trinity of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit? Or do we do it in secret, or out of apathy, just doing it for the sake of doing it? We can see it clearly in how we make even in such a basic gesture as making the sign of the Cross.

The belief in the Most Holy Trinity is crucial and essential part of our faith, and it is what distinguishes us from all those who believe in heretical teachings and aberrations, or from the pagans and those who rejected God and His truth. And it is important therefore that we are familiar with all of its aspects, so that if someone is to ask us about it, we will not be embarrassed, and worse, turn people away from salvation because of our failure to show the truth to them.

We do not believe in three Gods, all separate and distinct from each other. Instead, our core belief remains the same as it had been since the days of Abraham and Israel of old. We believe in one and only one God, the one God Who created all creation and all the universe. There is no other God besides Him, and all other gods, pagan or otherwise, are all false gods and idols, and in fact, even demons.

But at the same time, as Jesus our Lord and Saviour had revealed to His disciples, and from them to us, is that that one God, Supreme and Almighty, consists of three Divine Persons, or Aspects, distinct from each other, and yet remained united in a perfect harmony with each other, as the inseparable part of the whole One Divinity, the one and only True God. Without one or the other, the wholeness of the one God is not complete.

Thus, when we talk about the Father, we cannot separate Him from the Son and the Holy Spirit, or the Son from the Father and the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son. To separate out any of them from the others means to diminish the Lord and the wholeness of His divinity. And when they are working, they work together as one, working in perfect harmony in all things.

When God created the world, His Holy Spirit were all around, hovering over all creations. And by His words, He has willed all thing to be created. And that Word of life, the Word through which God created all life, has descended down upon us, taking up the flesh, and through the Holy Spirit, was made Man, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

At creation, we saw how the Trinity worked together harmoniously as one, with one will and intention. The Father willed all things to creation, which the Son in the Word executed the will of the Father and made all things to be created, and which in the end, the Holy Spirit filled all things and all creation, and gave life to all. As a result, the universe with all of its wonders were created, through the works of the one and only true God, and yet we can see clearly the Three Divine Aspects of God, the Trinity.

And at the moment of the incarnation, God the Father willed the incarnation of His own Son, the Divine Word, part of Himself and the Trinity, to become one like us, as a Man, save for being pure and free from sin. And the Holy Spirit came over Mary and covered her, and by the Holy Spirit, the Lord became Man, just as what we believed and which is part of our Creed.

In all these examples, taken from the Scriptures themselves, we can see how God is indeed One, and even though He consists of the Three Divine Persons, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, but one cannot understand the Father without understanding the Son and the Holy Spirit and vice versa. This is what we must know, and what we must understand with all of our hearts and minds.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if someone asks us about our belief in the Holy Trinity, then how should we respond to it? Perhaps then we should tell them about something as simple as a flame. And not just that this is for them to think and discover about the truth of the Trinity, but perhaps for many of us too, who doubted in the Trinity, may now come to believe the fullness of God’s truth.

A flame consists of the visible flame that we are able to see with our eyes, but a flame also consists of the material of the flame that we can touch with our hands, the energies of the flame which made it visible in the first place as the flame. And last of all, a flame can also be felt as we place our hands nearby the flame but not touching it, in the form of the heat that warms our hands and bodies close to it.

We cannot take out the light out of the flame and then still call the remaining object as a flame, and neither can we take out the heat or the matter of the flame and can still call the remaining as a flame. Undeniably, the light and the heat and the matter of the flame are distinct from each other, as they are all different, and yet they are inseparable parts that made up a flame. In the same manner, and even more so, the Most Holy Trinity is similar to this approximation.

Instead of muddling our minds and thoughts in trying to understand the nature of the Lord our God, One but Three, and Three but One, we should rather have faith in Him. If only that we can learn to trust Him and His truth, and learn to accept the truth which He had brought to us. Mankind had refused to believe His truth, often and simply because it was too much for their feeble minds and intellect to understand God and His ways.

Let us all instead work together, brothers and sisters in Christ, that we may find our way to the Lord our God, and work together in the same way as how harmonious the Lord in the Trinity is. Jesus Himself prayed to His Father in the time before His suffering and Passion, that He would make His people to be one, just as He and Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were one.

Thus, as we proceed on with our lives in this world, let us all heed the examples of the Most Holy Trinity, our Lord, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that we too may be united in faith, hope and love in our Lord. Let us never be shaken in our faith and devotion to the Most Holy Trinity, believing in the one and only True God, and in His Three inseparable but distinct Aspects, and then show the same love which has united Them as One, so that we too, the faithful people of God, may be united in love and harmony with one another.

May God bless us all and strengthen us, that we may resolve to keep this faith burning strongly in each one of us, and have the love in us, and show that love by caring for each other, devoting our time and efforts to care for our brethren, especially to those who are in the greatest need for our help. May God awaken in each one of us, the love we ought to have for each other. O, Most Holy Trinity, the Triune God, be with us all, now and forever. Amen.