homilies

Trinity Sunday - Year C
John 16:12-15

Holy Trinity is real and alive

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity. When I was saying Mass for one of the poor barrios in the Philippines some years ago, I asked the community, who were the three persons of God in the Trinity. Someone immediately put up his hand and said, “God the Father, God the Son and Mother Mary.”

All of us here believe in God, but if we were to take a survey now of how much each of us understands the Trinity, I am quite sure we too will have many different answers and even funny ones. I am sure some of us here would also want to put in Our Lady somewhere amongst the Trinity. Why is this so, you may ask?! Well, I suppose, one of the reasons many of us somehow want to put Our Lady in our belief in God is because our experience of Our Lady is so closely akin to our experience of God. And this is very understandable.

Several years ago, I was driving back from the airport around 4.30 in the afternoon. In the heat of the sun, in my non air-conditioned van, was one of my novices. As usual, when I drive, I would say a few Hail Mary’s along the way for safety. I was very tired. I had to fight very hard to stay awake. I tried talking to the novice, and even pinched myself, but staying awake seemed impossible. All of a sudden, I realized that my van was swerving into another lane. This shocked me and really woke me up. I realized I had fallen asleep. The traffic on Adam Road was very heavy at that time, and I realized that my van was simply cruising along on its own; with vehicles in front of me, behind me, and on both sides of me. (I hope there are no traffic police officers here in the congregation.)

From this experience, I am sure of two things: First, none of you will want to sit in my van, when I am driving. Second, I believe, my prayers to Our Lady had, some how protected me, and others from any harm. Many of us pray to Our Lady, and our prayers have been answered in so many ways, because of her intercession. And, I believe that is why many of us, like my Filipino friends in the barrio, somehow want to put Our Lady as one of the persons of the Blessed Trinity.

While we believe that Our Lady is the mother of Jesus, who is both fully God and fully man, when we go to Our Lady in prayer, we are only actually asking her, who is so close to God, to pray for us. I personally ask Our Lady to intercede for me all that time. We should continue this beautiful and very humane way of approaching God. This is part of the rich heritage and tradition of our Catholic faith that we should not give up. However, it is good that we understand more fully what we are practising.

Even though although Our Lady is the most perfect of all creatures, and even though she is closest to God’s heart, Our Lady is the Mother of God, she is not God.

As I said, we should by all means continue to ask her to pray for us. But, when we pray to the Trinity, as when we make the sign of the cross, we are praying to God the Father, who is our creator, we are praying to God the Son, who is our Savour, and we are praying to God the Holy Spirit, who is our Sanctifier.

As creator, we believe that God the Father is the source of all life. He is more than the image of a bearded old man. We also believe that the reason why the Father created us is because He loves us. In fact, as in today’s Gospel of St John, we hear Jesus telling us that, God the Father loves us so much that he gave us His only Son, to save us from being lost and damned eternally. Thus, He says that whoever believes in His Son as his Saviour, will have eternal life.

Our Lord’s love for us is so deep that He willingly wiped away our sins, and suffered the excruciating and shameful death of a criminal for our sake. This is so that we may enjoy eternal life with Him, after we die. Jesus Christ, then as the Second person of the blessed Trinity, is our Saviour and Lord of our lives.

After Jesus died and rose from the dead, He ascended into heaven, to be with His Father. He then sent us the Holy Spirit on Pentecost to be with us: to guide us, to protect us and to give us the strength and wisdom we need, to lead our lives according to what God wills of us. Thus, the Holy Spirit is more than a symbol of a white dove flapping over our heads, or over the head of Jesus when He was being baptised.

The Holy Spirit is concretely present in all the different situations of our daily lives. When we are desire to live a more wholesome life, like when we are moved to forgive people who have hurt us and inflicted injustice on us, it is the Holy Spirit, that empowers us to be forgiving. When we are protected from harm, like accidents, sickness and even death, it is also the Holy Spirit of God that makes this possible. When we able to reach out to love people who are in need: especially the poor, the lonely, the exploited and the oppressed, then it is again, the Holy Spirit of God who is making us see that every human person is precious in God’s eyes.

My sisters and brothers in Christ, to conclude, let us be very clear that God the Father is real. God the Son is real. God the Holy Spirit is also real. God is very much part of our lives. We are truly blessed to have a God who is truly the fullness of Love and the perfection of all loves.

And so, the more we allow God to enter into our lives, the more meaningful and fulfilling our lives will be. We have only one life to lead. How long are we going to live? Nobody knows -- for life itself is not within our control. But, how beautiful and meaningful is our life going to be? Yes, that we know, and that is within our control and choice. Life is God’s gift to us. But, what we become is our gift to God.