Total Pageviews

Friday, May 29, 2015


Matthew 28:16-20

      The Trinity is the central doctrine in Christian faith.  Our belief in the Trinity and the cross are the two marks that distinguish Christianity from the other world religions.   They define who we are and determine our destiny.
     Whilst all the other celebrations of feasts and solemnities in the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church are based on the life of Jesus, the events in the history of salvation and the lives of the saints, the celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity is based on a doctrine.   It is the doctrine of one God with three Persons.   The other two monotheistic religions  believe in one God: Islam believes in Allah and Judaism believes in Yahweh.  We Christians also believe in one God but in the Persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Simple in its expression yet it is the mystery of all mysteries therefore the most difficult to understand. We try to understand the doctrine of the Trinity as God with one divine nature (or Essence) in three divine persons.  These three persons are distinct yet they co-exist in unity, are co-equal, co-eternal and con-substantial. Our understanding may sound metaphysical (and even daunting) because the doctrine is defined using philosophical terms as developed by the two great geniuses of the Church: St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. Many thinkers and theologians (Origen, Karl Rahner, Karl Barth, Hans Urs von Balthasar to name a few) contributed to our deeper understanding of the doctrine as it continues to evolve and to mediate its meaning to the needs of our time.

      How do we come about our belief in the Trinity which is different from the other religions of the world?  Jesus through his life most especially in the Paschal Mystery of his death, descent into hell  and resurrection revealed to us that God is a Trinity!  In fact, it is through the unfolding of the three Persons of the Trinity in the life of Jesus that inspired the biblical authors and subsequent thinkers and theologians to define the doctrine the way we understand it now.  They show to us that the history of salvation is nothing but the unfolding or the manifestation of the three Persons of the Trinity who became a Pilgrim-God leading humanity in a pilgrimage towards himself. 
      In Jesus we do not just see the revelation of the Trinity but rather he invites humanity to enter into the life of the Trinity.  He did not just reveal God as a Father, but our own Father whom we can call “Abba”; he did not just reveal the Holy Spirit but was given to us as a friend and Jesus did not just reveal himself as the savior but a brother as well.    This is quite revolutionary in a sense that finally a religion is here whose God is not just  Almighty who is detached from the lives of people but a real being who became like us and whom we can relate with.  

       But the question is: If there is God, why would he let evil prosper and triumph in the world?  Our answer to the question of evil that most atheists bring about as their justification of not believing in God, is the cross and death of Jesus.  The God who revealed himself to us suffered the most excruciating pain a human being could take and died crucified!  And yet death and evil were vanquished by the power of love as shown to us in the resurrection of the Crucified God.

      The gospel this Sunday reminds us of the mission that Jesus entrusted to the Church: “Go therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit.” In the highly atheistic culture of the world today, our mission is to let the whole world know that there is a God who is the Trinity and to bring all peoples into this Trinitarian life: that God is our Father; Jesus is our Savior and the Holy Spirit is our Friend.
     Our belief in the Trinity challenges us to enter into a personal relationship with the Father, with Jesus and with the Holy Spirit.  In this Trinitarian life we are invited to participate in the overflowing self-emptying love of God that penetrates every stratum of society our society and every fibre of our being.   We experience this as we form communions through our families, the parish, the Church and groups that bring about love, unity and peace.  

      Through us and with us and in us, the Trinity continues to walk as a Pilgrim-God in our pains, abandonment, loneliness, suffering and even in death as well as in our joys, triumphs, dreams and aspirations.  His fulness is the communion of all his sons and daughters back to his womb, our true home and our final destiny, in which we live and move and have our being.....


Friday, May 22, 2015



Why do we celebrate the Pentecost at the end of the Easter season?  It is because the Holy Spirit was the ultimate gift of the Risen Christ promised to the apostles.  It was the fruit of the suffering and death of the Crucified God. 

Originally it was a Jewish harvest festival where the people would offer on the fiftieth day a new cereal offering to the Lord (Lev. 23:16).  Later on the feast was used to commemorate the Old Covenant fifty days after the Exodus from Egypt.
   The Christian Pentecost comes from two biblical traditions of St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles which was based from the charismatic and prophetic tradition and of St. John in the Fourth Gospel which was based from the wisdom tradition.   Although different in their presentation of details, genre and theology, both traditions pertain to the same descent of the Holy Spirit. 
    In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit has always been depicted and understood as the breath of God (ruah in Hebrew, pneuma in Greek and spiritus in Latin).   It was the divine breath that animated the clay which became man and woman and also vivified the rest of creation.   Sin destroyed that divine breath hence the spiritual death of humankind. In the New Testament, God re-created creation by breathing anew his divine breath when the Word became flesh.   The resurrected Body of Christ has the power to regenerate in an act of self-giving therefore God the Father gave birth to the New Humanity through the gift of the Holy Spirit as the fruit of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.   The Pentecost is a Trinitarian event!  It is an event that happened within history (recorded in the Scriptures) and also outside history (beyond time) which makes it an eschatological event.   It happened two thousand years ago and still continues to happen at this very moment.

The Pentecost opened a new era in the history of salvation which is the Era of the Holy Spirit. In this era the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ was born.     When we received the gift of the Holy Spirit during our Baptism and Confirmation.   It was the acknowledgement of our membership in the Body of Christ.    When we were grafted into this spiritual body, we became children of God and our lives were conformed to Christ.  Therefore to be a Christian is being a child of God who bears the name of Christ and who lives the life in the Spirit. It is in the participation in this Trinitarian life that we become being-for-others with a mission to share the divine breath we received by making a difference in the world we live in.  

                      Prayer for the Spirit

“Pour into our hearts the sentiment of Your love, become Yourself a flowing current for us, for our own current does not carry us all the way to you.  Be rainfall upon our parchedness, be a river through our landscape, that it might find in you a defining middle and a cause of its increasing and bearing fruit.  And should Your water bring forth blossoms and fruit in us, then let us not regard these as our own sproutings and produce, for they stem from You; and let us lay them up in advance with you, adding to the store of invisible goods that You can dispose of as You wish.  They are fruits from our land, but brought forth by You, which are Yours to use for You or for us, or to reserve for another who has nothing.”

                                    (Hans Urs von Balthasar)

Saturday, May 16, 2015


John 17: 11-19

         A dying person, if given the time to pray, will surely pray for his/her loved ones and will make sure that things are in place for them after he’s/she’s gone.  This is the spirit of the Priestly Prayer of Jesus prayed the day before he died; it contained his innermost longing for the sake of his disciples.  Knowing that he would be physically away from his disciples when he goes back to his Father, he prayed for them; he made sure that he entrusted and consecrated them to his Father the way he entrusted and consecrated himself to his Father. 

         Jesus prayed that his disciples who are in the world should be protected by the spirit of the world because they are not of the world: “to protect them from the evil one; they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world” The word “world” used in the Priestly Prayer of Jesus is more than just the physical world we live in.  It is still the material world but in the spiritual sphere with values opposed to the Gospel like selfishness, hatred, violence, injustice, consumerism.  In short the false value of the world is sin expressed in the many forms of worldly allurements.  That is why Jesus said that his disciples are IN but not OF this world. 

         The physical world we are living in, being the creation of God’s Wisdom, reflects the beauty and goodness of God.  Gerard Manly Hopkins says “creation is charged in the grandeur of God.”  All creatures, big and small, reflect the mystery and magnificence of God! St. Augustine calls them “vestigia Trinitatis” (imprints of the Trinity)!  It is all because there is an inherent goodness in the heart of creation which is an overflow of the inner-Trinitarian life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit expressed in charity (love in action)! 

Humanity in all its evil, being  created in the image and likeness of God,  is basically good. Sin has destroyed the inherent goodness of creation thereby injecting the un-Godly values that continue to plague humanity.   Precisely the Incarnation of God (the Word becoming flesh) is ordered towards the salvation of humanity and all creation.   But the mission of Jesus was not just saving the world rather the revelation of the inner-Trinitarian self-gifting of God through his life, death and resurrection (the Paschal Mysrtery).   Therefore Jesus both reveals God as the Trinity and at the same time saves humanity.
We Christians are called to do more than just living in the world.  What makes us different from the rest of humanity is our consecration.  Our consecration being disciples of Jesus is the interior mark that sets us apart from others living in the world: “For their sake, I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth.”    This consecration finds its expression in mission:  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”  We  are called to be catalysts in bringing back that basic goodness in creation through a life of Christian witness that refuses to comprise with the values of the world.

This consecration is our privilege; the mission is our responsibility!