THE MOST HOLY TRINITY / TRINITY SUNDAY (C) – 16th June 2019

Theme: THE MOST HOLY TRINITY: THE MYSTERY OF GOD’S LOVE IN CREATION, SALVATION AND SANCTIFICATION!

  • Proverbs 8:22-31;
  • Psalm 8:4-9. R/ v. 2;
  • Romans 5:1-5
  • John 16:12-15

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of THE MOST HOLY TRINITY! Today we also celebrate the feast day of our parish, that is, the feast day of Holy Trinity Church, Tawau! THE MOST HOLY TRINITY is the mystery of God’s love in Creation, Salvation and Sanctification, that is, God the Father Creates out of love, God the Son Saves out of love and God the Holy Spirit Sanctifies out of love!

People of other religions ask us: Why do we believe in three Gods? How can God become man? How can God die? How can God become food for men? How can God become food for sinful men?

To begin with, we do not believe in three Gods, we believe in one God, but we believe in a God of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation; we do not believe in a God of law, justice, judgment and condemnation!

We believe that God created the world out of love, but when we sinned, God loved us even more; God became man to save us, but when we crucified him on the cross, He loved us even more; He rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit dwells among us, within us and inside us, nearer to us than we are to ourselves, loving us more than we love ourselves (Saint Augustine)!

And the Holy Spirit will love us until we love God, love our neighbor and love ourselves! Then will come the end of the world, that is, the end of the evil world, the second coming of Jesus Christ! And Jesus Christ will take us to heaven to share in the life of love and happiness of The Most Holy Trinity!

We believe that the Holy Spirit is in the Church, especially in the Sacraments, and especially in the Sacrament of Sacraments, that is, the Holy Eucharist/Mass! For when we celebrate the Holy Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the Salvation of the world! We make present, real and effective the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the Salvation of the world!

And when we eat the body of Christ and drink his blood, we eat the body of the Risen Lord who can pass through locked doors and be at any place at an instant – not limited by time and space! And it is the Risen Lord who gives us the Holy Spirit for our salvation!

That is why immediately after the consecration the priest says “The mystery of faith” and we acclaim “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again”!

This acclamation is taken from 1 Corinthians 11: 23 – 26. It is the most ancient written text on the institution of the Eucharist, more ancient than even the gospel accounts on the institution of the Eucharist! “Whenever you eat this bread, then, and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Co 11:26; NJB) That is, “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we are proclaiming the saving Death of the Lord until he comes again when all will be saved”!

Let us then come to Mass every Sunday and let us ask our children, grandchildren,  godchildren, parents, godparents, relatives, friends, neighbors, schoolmates, workmates, etc. to come to Mass every Sunday! That is the most loving act we can do to them!

The readings today tell us about The Most Holy Trinity, that is, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit!

(i) The first reading tells us that God the Father created the universe, that is, the sun, the moon, the stars and the earth, the hills, the mountains, the rivers, the seas, etc.; but more importantly, the first reading tells us that God the Father did not create haphazardly, but he created the universe according to his plan, that is, according to Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God! (CSB) Everything was created in him, with him, through him, and for him! Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of creation, that is, the beginning and end of creation! Creation has a purpose, a meaning and a direction, that is, Jesus Christ!

(ii) The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us that God the Father created the whole universe! That is why we responded four times:

“How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!” (Ps 8:2; SM) 

More importantly, the responsible psalm tells us that human beings are the high point of God’s creation and human beings are to be the stewards of God’s creation!

(iii) The second reading tells us that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection gave us the Holy Spirit:

“Through our Lord Jesus Christ, by faith we are judged righteous and at peace with God, since it is by faith and through Jesus that we have entered this state of grace in which we can boast about looking forward to God’s glory. …. And this hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us.” (Rm 5: 1-2. 5; SM)

(iv) The gospel today tells us that Jesus Christ will give us the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit will reveal to us the whole truth and tell us of what is to come, that is, what is to come after Jesus’ death and resurrection (NJB):

“But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, …. and he will tell you of the things to come.” (Jn 16:13; SM) 

The gospel also tells us that the Trinity of Persons is in fact one God! Thus the caption of the gospel:

“Everything the Father has is mine; all the Spirit tells you will be taken from what is mine.” (cf. Jn 16:15; Sunday Missal (SM)) 

Today we give thanks to God for his love in creation, in salvation and in sanctification, and we ask God to continue to sanctify us with his love, so that we can love God, love our neighbor and love ourselves, and so that Jesus Christ will come a second time to take us all to heaven to share in the life of The Most Holy Trinity! A happy and blessed Trinity Sunday to all of you and a happy and blessed parish feast day to all of you! Amen!

 

Fr. Nicholas Ong, Holy Trinity Catholic Church (HTCC), Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia, 

 

References: New Jerusalem Bible (NJB); Catholic Study Bible (CSB).     

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 27th August 2017

Theme: THE CHURCH SAVES US FROM HELL AND BRINGS US TO HEAVEN 

  • Isaiah 22:19-23; 
  • Psalm 137:1-3. 6. 8. R/ v. 8; 
  • Romans 11:33-36 
  • Matthew 16:13-20

1. Today is the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The gospel today tells us that Jesus chose Peter to be the first Pope of the Church! More importantly, the gospel tells us that the Church saves us from hell and brings us to heaven! Thus we read: 

“You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of  heaven; whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.” (Mt 16:18-19; SM) 

All of us know that Christ died on Good Friday and rose from the dead on Easter Sunday! But not all of us know what Christ did on Holy Saturday! On Holy Saturday Christ went to hell to save Adam and Eve our first parents! This we can read from “an ancient homily for Holy Saturday” on “The Lord’s descent into hell” from the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday! Thus we read in 1 Peter 3:19: 

“…. he went to preach to the spirits in prison.” (NJBh) 

And thus we profess in the Apostles’ Creed every Sunday Mass: 

“…. was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; ….” 

Again, the Church saves us from hell and brings us to heaven! The authority to “bind” and “loose” is the Church’s authority to teach, to forgive sins, to exorcise and to excommunicate! (HCSB/NJBC) 

Today our Pope Francis is the direct successor of Peter the first Pope in an unbroken line of 266 Popes! And our Bishops are the direct successors of the Twelve Apostles! 

That is why we pray for our Pope and our Bishops at every Mass! But we have to pray for them even outside Mass! 

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the Lord calls Eliakim to be the master of the palace of king Hezekiah of Judah who lived in the 8th and 7th century Before Christ (BC). One of the functions of the master of the king’s palace was to open and close the door of the king’s palace. Thus we read in the first reading: 

 “I place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; should he open, no one 

shall close, should he close, no one shall open.” (Is 22:22; SM) 

The first reading prefigures and prophesizes the choosing of Peter to open and close the door of the kingdom of heaven! Thus we read: 

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven”! (Mt 16:19; SM) 

3. The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for salvation! The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas are a thanksgiving for salvation. (NJBC) 

Particularly, salvation through the Church of Christ! The third stanza from which the response is taken is an expression of confidence in God and a prayer asking God to connue to save us! (HCSB) Particularly through his Church! Thus we responded three times: 

“Your love, O Lord, is eternal, discard not the work of your hands.” (Ps 137:8; SM) 

4. The second reading is a continuation and a conclusion of the second reading of last Sunday. It is a hymn to the merciful wisdom of God in his plan of salvation! (NJBC/CSB) 

The second reading of last Sunday tells us that the disobedience of the Jews made God show mercy to the pagans and the jealousy of the Jews of the pagans made God show mercy to the Jews and finally the disobedience of the Jews and pagans made God show mercy to all humankind! Such is the merciful wisdom of God in his plan of salvation! 

But the hymn ends with a doxology/praise to God, not only for salvation, but also for creation! Thus the hymn concludes: 

“All that exists comes from him; all is by him and for him. To him be glory for ever! Amen.” (Rm 11:36; SM) 

Today, we too give glory to God, not only for salvation, but also for creation! We are created in the image of God to be the co-creators of God to create life and not to destroy life! But today we are destroying life and thus the ecological crisis and the environmental destruction! But there is good news! 

In 2014, on 2nd to the 5th of September, in the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, the Justice and Peace Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei gathered and had a meeting on Creation! The vision was “Communion with all Creation” and the mission was “Stewardship of Creation”! 

Science tells us that Creation and humanity are a Community! But Creation and Humanity are not yet in Communion! Creation and Humanity will be in Communion when humanity becomes the stewards of Creation! 

5. Today we thank God for his Church, particularly for our Pope and Bishops, and we continue to pray for them as we pray for them at every Mass! Today we also thank God not only for Salvation, but also for Creation and we ask God to help us to be stewards of Creation so that we will be in Communion with all Creation! Amen!