Saturday, July 09, 2011

15th Sunday Ordinary Time JULY 10, 2011

The color GREEN used in the stole of the priest for Masses during the Ordinary Time signifies LIFE. I was in Palawan a week ago, and the sight of the place full of trees, indeed Palawan's forest remains to be its treasure, was very rejuvenating for a person seeking some break from the hassles and bustles of daily life in the mission.



I remember we were taught that when someone living in places where snow abounds (and I've seen how the place can be literally painted white when snow falls) sees a green leaf, the feeling of hope is awakened. Soon, the cold of the snow will be gone when the green shoots start to come. Green really stands for life, the cycle of life.




The Word of God is His Word spoken for life. It comes out from His heart out of love. And it goes, fulfilling its mission, and then coming back to God. Such is the cycle of the Word of God: from God to give life and returning back to God, the cycle of life.

And the Word today is "sown," literally and figuratively. Literally because it is announced, spoken, for all to hear. He talks to us, but do we really stop and listen? What is sown has life, to nurture life, so it will live in God. One notices that between two people who know and care for each other, talking is their sign of caring for the other. Children who grew up in environments where they were rarely talked to likewise rarely talks, and develops their speech abilities only when someone who cares for them starts talking to them. When the talking stops between two people, or when there is no talking between two people, the care becomes unclear, the gap becomes evident, and the distance makes them cold to each other. But God "sows" His Word. He reaches out to us, so we can live in Him.

The question then is the kind of listening we give, which in Scriptures today identifies as "the soil" or "the kind of ground" on which the seed is sown. Let me divide, using the Scriptures themselves, these kinds into four:

1. Listening with disinterest - an action done by someone who seems to simply pass by, the sound is heard in one ear, it goes away in the other ear, doesn't even settle in the mind, and is rarely given meaning. It doesn't resonate anything inside the person. It dies and withers, taken away, so to say. Is it a matter of inability to listen? Is it a case of disability to listen? In any case, what is sown is not able to live in the soil. They say, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Does this mean that meaning is in the ears of the hearer? But the ears here definitely involve the mind and the heart, just as the eye in there involves both faculties of the mind and the heart.

2. Superficial interest - What is heard is given some moments of focus and interest, but unable to grapple with its meaning, what is sown dies. Just like the lessons learned in school, unless it is written for students to re-view (view again), short term memory of the lessons fades and dissipates into thin air. Again, what is sown dies.

3. Cluttered interest - there may be interest and meaning given to what is heard, what is sown in us. But this interest competes with other interests, the "weeds and thorns" alluded to in the parable, Our ability to give meaning to what is heard becomes colored by the environment that surrounds the input. When what is heard is simply allowed to grow, nurtured less, it rarely really grows. It becomes clobbered by the other interests given co-equal importance. Oftentimes in life, what is given importance is the immediate. If only we realize the art of prioritizing. I say "art" because it involves giving time for it, just like an artist gives time in what one is painting, or a composer's attention given to the music being composed. All other things come secondary, of less importance. Of course, in time, what was sown dies. Would that its life potency were so strong as to wiggle itself in great struggle to seek the focus it deserves. But rarely does it survive.

4. Real interest - the seed sown on this type of soil is given the focus it deserves, finds resonance in the person listening to what was spoken. Meaning is enkindled, and the relationship blooms. What is learned becomes part of life. Indeed, the seed bears fruit as much as it has been given due credit and attention.

Now I understand even more fully why SILENCE was required during my Novitiate Days way back 1983, and required in religious life. Because "seeds" really grow in the silence of the earth. It can only be as loud as the attention given it. It is only after "overlearning" my lessons did I manage to really remember, not just for exams, but for life.

The story of the dogs that saw the thief illustrates very well a good summary for these thoughts. One night, I woke up hearing the dogs of the neighborhood barking. I opened my windows and saw a man carrying a rooster it stole running hurriedly as dogs were at his back chasing him with their barking. Soon other dogs joined the fray, barked along. After a few minutes I saw some dogs return while I could still hear other dogs barking as they chased the thief. Soon the thief was caught. Only the dogs that saw the thief pursued the thief. Those who barked along stopped, exhausted, and returned.

The thief can give meaning to the dogs barking. The Word of God can continuously provide the meaning that can sustain its life in the right soil. If only we allow it to grow in us, giving it the nurturance it deserves, so it can give us life.

God bless and take care

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

WHO IS THIS WOMAN?


(Thanks to the site where I got this: http://www.google.com.ph/imglanding?q=immaculate+concepcion&hl=tl&sa=X&sz=21&biw=1024&bih=551&tbs=isch:1&tbnid=8PFmRaX1sDyCfM:&imgrefurl=http://catholicseeking.blogspot.com/2010/11/immaculate-conception-novena-day-2.html&imgurl=http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_O6K_h61str8/TPWO6vz189I/AAAAAAAAFeM/mFtd5_VN-Ns/s1600/murillo-Immaculate-Conception.jpg&zoom=1&w=302&h=405&ei=yMb-TM-AMM66ce7p4fEF&iact=rc&oei=jsb-TOH5CIfRcJXysYcG&esq=3&page=1&tbnh=120&tbnw=94&start=0&ndsp=24&ved=1t:429,r:9,s:0

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Dec. 8, 2010

St. Jude Catholic School
Manila, Philippines

Who is this woman whom the Church addresses as the Immaculate Conception?

She it was who gave birth to a boy named Jesus
With Joseph her husband, she traveled to Bethlehem for the census announced then
She was found with child even before the wedding was made
Joseph even started to doubt whether he would marry her
But with the angel’s word in a dream, he went ahead
Because what was happening was in fulfillment of the plan of God
Announced to her that she would be the mother of God’s Son
Who will save everyone from our sins

She it was who said “Let it be done unto me according to your word.”

Accepting the will of God, living with Joseph and giving birth to Jesus
Giving life to Jesus in her womb, taking good care of Him
Offering Him as the law prescribed – a pair of turtledoves and young pigeons
Hearing Simeon say “a sword shall pierce your heart”
And keeping these words in her heart
She even asked Jesus why He stayed in the temple after their visit to Jerusalem
Only to hear Him say that He is to be busy with His father’s business
Keeping again these words in her heart.

She who accepted the will of God in her life kept these thoughts in her heart
So she could continue to do His will in her daily life.

The next thing we hear of her in the Scriptures is her seeing her son carrying the Cross on the way to Calvary
And at the foot of the cross where her son hung
She stood faithful, gazing at the Savior of the world dying on the Cross
Hearing Him say “WOMAN, Behold your son” – John and all of us
Hearing Him say to John “Behold your mother” – she is ours to take care as well
What with her husband gone, and now her only son going too.
She was there holding her Son by her arms after he was brought down from the cross.

From her Son’s birth up to His death and Resurrection
She stayed faithful and committed.
Mary indeed our Mother, and we her children too.

Mary, the woman who stood by her son, stood by her Church when the Holy Spirit
Came, poured as tongues of flame on the Apostles in the Upper Room
Fulfilling Her son’s word to take good care of His followers after He had died
Risen from the dead, He had even given her the solicitude of a mother
Of those in the 1st Community and until the Last Community when he comes again.

But why IMMACULATE CONCEPTION?


If all fidelity was in her from the start of her accepting the will of God
Never giving up in the midst of questions to be answered only totally by God Himself
These only point to the greater possibility that She must have been graced so well.

Oh yes, didn’t she hear the angel say to her at the Annunciation
“Hail, FULL OF GRACE, the Lord is with you.”

GRATIA PLENA, the fullness of God’s confidence was with her
To become the worthy Mother of His Only Son.

Hence the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION is the way of the Father
To prepare a womb worthy of divinity – the Son would be born in there
Even if He would be born in a manger later
He was first conceived in a womb unstained by sin
IMMACULATE, CLEAN and PURE
As Her fidelity, as God’s fidelity to His plan to save us from our sins
Allowing the possibility of our communion with divine life
The possibility for eternity to be ours as well with God and the angels.

Yes, IMMACULATE CONCEPTION she was given the title and identity,
Because she was prepared for her mission: giving birth to our Savior
Leading, guiding, watching over him and taking every event in His life into her heart
Never forgetting that she had committed her life to the plan of God.

FIAT VOLUNTAS TUA – Let it be done unto me according to your word
The faithfulness of Mary revealing the faithfulness of God Himself.

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION – God’s way of saying to all of us
That we were created in His image and likeness, unstained, and even when stained
We remain called to live to the best that we can a sinless life, a saintly life.

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION is Divine Providence at its best
Always thinking of our happiness and salvation

Mary, Mother of God and IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
Pray for us before your Son so we may one day see Him and You
And the Father as well with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Narrow Road: 21st Sunday Ordinary Time 2010

For ten Sundays now since June 17, 2010 (12th Sunday in Ordinary Time), I have been doing short sharings in a TV MARIA station (channel 160 in our Sky Cable provider) program entitled: Salita ng Dios, Salita ng Buhay aired every Sunday. Actually, the program is shown daily with different SVD priests sharing, at 7AM, 12nn and 6PM Philippine time. Salita ng Dios, Salita ng Buhay appears to be a translation of the SVD Bible Diary published every year as a help in understanding the Word of God in order to strengthen our Christian Catholic faith. The title of the SVD publication is Word in other words. The pattern of the publication is such that after the Gospel for the day is made, one of the SVD (Priest or Brother) or SSpS (Blue Sisters) or SSpSAP (Pink Sisters) religious shares a reflection. The program opens with a Welcome Greetings, Opening Prayer, Reading of the Word of God, Sharing, Closing Prayer and blessing. Having this blog, I thought of publishing here what I share in there. I use Tagalog in the TV program; here let me use English. Maybe I can put it into Chinese as well for the sake of the Chinese readers.

Allow me to start this project here.

The texts of the Word of God are as follow:

1st Rdg - Is. 66: 18-21
2nd Rdg - Hb 12: 5-7, 11-13
Gospel - Lk 13: 22-30

The evident topic for this Sunday is about SALVATION. The 1st Rdg speaks of the plan of Yahweh to save His people. In the Gospel, as Jesus was going around the towns and villages on His way to Jerusalem, he was once asked if there will be many (or not) who will be saved. The answer of Jesus was not a categorical YES or NO in response to the inquiry. His answer came with an action word: "STRIVE to enter through the narrow door."

To understand what SALVATION is through the image of the NARROW DOOR, it might help to envision it as against a WIDE ROAD. Here in Metro Manila, the widest road I have ever driven is the Commonwealth Road which I usually take when visiting friends on that side of the metropolis. Before it is the Elliptical Circle, which used to be called "Epileptic Circle" when it was on construction many years ago, due to the potholes that almost made traveling feel like an epileptic attack. In these wide roads, driving is fast though careful. Everyone gets to speed up amidst the constant caution one needs to make to avoid an accident and reach one's target destination. There seems to be an "I DON'T CARE" (carefree) attitude as one drives the lanes, overtaking the others, ensuring one gets there safely.

The NARROW DOOR may be compared to any one of two-lane roads wherein one lane gets occupied by the construction debris - as when the canal has to be cleared in preparation for the floods, or when the water lines and electric cables have to be checked every now and then. Right in front where the obstruction is a device that stops the use of the said lane. All drivers passing through the road have then to squeeze themselves into the only lane available. The Skyway has a bottleneck portion as one reaches Alabang, and sign says it clearly: ALTERNATE passing only. All drivers passing through the bottleneck needs to slow down, anticipate the other with care to avoid an accident and to let the other pass ahead of oneself. There is thus in this image the picture of the STRIVING we need to make. The personal, careful rather than carefree attitude is shown. No matter how slow, traffic keeps on moving.

The image of the NARROW DOOR or LANE thus provides the spirit of our striving: with care and concern for the other, which does not become evident in the fast lane WIDE ROADS of carefree-attitude and speed.

To strive to be saved - that belongs to us. That we want to be there too in heaven - that belongs to us. I remember a spiritual guide who once said (was he St. John Bosco?) "Pray as if everything depends on God, but work as if everything belongs to us." Saving belongs to God; being saved belongs to us. I remember during my regency in Tefuyeh, a remote mountain village of the Tsou tribe in Chiayi, Taiwan, my neighbor, a teacher of the tribes passed away. His house was just across my room. In between us was a road that went to the higher area of the village, and this man's house sat atop the edge of the cliff overlooking the parish Church just opposite my room. I heard from the villagers that he was not baptized. Many of the Christian churches there, including the Catholic Church, invited him to be baptized, which he refused. Death overtook him before he could be baptized. The question dawned on me: will he be saved? What shall happen to him? I raised these questions to my supervisor-priest Fr. Anton Weber, SVD. His answer never left me: "That now belongs to God." Indeed, saving belongs to Him. What we are left behind is the STRIVING to be saved.

In our STRIVING, to be baptized is the first Step to salvation. It is the sacrament of our INCORPORATION to Christ. We belong Him as He belongs to us. We are INITIATED into the family of God, the Church. In adult baptisms, the person baptized makes a PERSONAL, CONSCIOUS choice to believe Him Who saves. In the baptism of babies, like most of us had, our parents and godparents had us belong to the Church just as they already belong to the Church.

As we grow in Christian life, another STRIVING we make is through understanding our faith. One of the experiences that can strongly convey this journey towards understanding our faith is when we are disciplined, when God corrects us, perhaps through suffering and pain. The second reading says it clearly: "Do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by Him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every child he acknowledges." Hence, we are to "endure trials as discipline. (For)God treats you as His children. For what child is there whom his father does not discipline?"

Allow me to share some pictures I received in the email with the subject: "Why boys Need Strict Fathers... (Por que los peques necesitan de padres que son estrictos)"








Without a strict father, danger and death are just lurking in front of us! Salvation may be too far without our understanding why!

If we still cannot understand how God saves, I pray the Holy Spirit gives us His wisdom and enlightenment so we can understand and STRIVE to be saved! May the Lord bless us all. Amen

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dec. 18, 2009 Reflection: JOSEPH and JESUS

Let me share here my reflection submitted to a confrere's blog for the Christmas season. Thanks Frs. Jerome and Randolf for the initiative to have this series of reflections.

The nursery home in every hospital has always been a very amusing place. That is especially true when the father gets to see his son for the first time. Together with his wife, they would look at the baby and oftentimes say the following words: Father: “Look at his nose, it looks like mine.” The wife would say, “Yes, look at his forehead, very much like yours and your father’s. He really is your son.”

Though we know that St. Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, there appear traces of Joseph’s influence on his foster child. Hoping that we can get some model for our fatherhood on our sons (and daughters, and modeling for motherhood as well for those matters), let’s look at some of them:

1. Joseph must have been really in love with Mary, his wife-to-be. The Scriptures we have just read tell us that he “was unwilling to expose her to shame.” He knew that a woman in Mary's situation would have very easily landed in a very precarious situation – being killed by stone-throwing at the city gate. But Joseph’s love became her security and that of the baby Jesus in her womb. Her honor was something that Joseph must have really treasured in his heart. When a man really loves a woman, that love is best expressed in protecting her honor and dignity before others. Haven’t we heard many a man with chivalry say that “this is the woman I married” ("siya ang pinakasalan ko"). Isn’t this the content of the covenant sealed in the sacrament of marriage – when both husband and wife pledge love and loyalty and preserve the good honor of the other?

Joseph’s love for Mary, a woman, may have become the primal example of the Lord Jesus’ sound respect for women. Didn’t he have a lot of women following and serving him in his many journeys? Didn’t he literally free the woman caught in adultery (“in flagrante delicto” as lawyers would love to quote) by saying that “if nobody is left to accuse you, neither would I.” This would have been Joseph’s line spoken to Mary, had the evangelist Matthew allowed a dialogue between them during this stage in their lives.


Before I bring in the second point, allow me to share a text message I had just received the other day. It reads: “Now it can be told why Jinky cried ang was very emotional during the homily at the Mass after Manny’s historic victory over Cotto. The priest pala made a mistake. Nasabi daw ng pari: “Manny, Jinky, ito ang payo ko sa inyo: hayaan ninyo na nasa gitna lagi ninyo si Krista.” Of course the priest was supposed have told Jinky and Manny to allow Christ – Kristo – to stay in their midst, in their marital life.


2. Joseph must have been a very God-fearing righteous man. From the example of Joseph we see two qualities of a righteous man: respect for the law, and fear of God. The law contains a capacity to make us in society live in order and decency. When we live against it or have committed an infraction against the law, we are accountable to its sanctions and penalties. However, we may notice that the law can be really cruel, particularly in the case of the law that imposes the death penalty. That is why the fear of God has to go side-by-side with our respect for the law. We often hear that “what is legal may not necessarily be moral.” The sound foundation of morality rests on the primacy of God over everything, and our fear of Him Who knows everything. Hence, we are shown in the readings today Joseph in a dream. As psychologists would love to say, dreams often tell us something about the conscious activities of every one during our waking hours. When something really bothers us, it can continue into the dream state. We can then imagine Joseph searching and asking questions like “How do I solve this problem (like Maria, as in that famous song)?” His heart must have been reaching out to God for an answer, and even praying “not as I will but as you will, O God,” which God answers through the dream.

When we extend that unwritten prayer dialogue between Joseph and his God, we may actually hear Jesus Himself, on the night before He died, in the garden of Gethsemane, praying to His Father, “take this cup away from me, but not as I will but as You will.”


We know the rest of the story of Joseph. He may not have been the biological father of Joseph, but we can see his evident impact on the way Jesus lived his life: Joseph’s love and respect for Mary’s honor became the sound bed of Jesus’ love and respect for the women who came into his life. Joseph’s righteous life is seen in Jesus’ willingness to do the will of God in his own life.

Fathers, and mothers included, your role in the lives of your children is very important. Live your lives with respect for each other’s honor, and always do your best to make sure the will of God is alive in your lives so your children will live as you do. In this way we can really say “As the tree, so the fruits.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

You owe more? Love more!

On my way to the 1st Mass today, I wore my cassock. People I passed by greeted me (whereas before when I was in casual wear no one would even greet me!); the beggars went and asked that I touch them. The vendors likewise extended their hands and asked that they kiss my hand (Mano Po Father!). Before I turned right to enter the compound of the Church, I heard loud voices coming from two women who were apparently in an argumentative mood (very early in the morning!!!), and I noticed that they toned down their voice as soon as they saw me coming closer. I thought “My cassock must be bringing to these people the awareness of God with us!

How I pray that this presence of God be likewise felt in the presence of every person. For that is what we have been given in Christ: the dignity of man, restored in Christ brings to us the enduring love and salvific presence of God!

Yes, that is what we have been given in Jesus: His sacrifice on the cross, His rising from the dead, His sending us the Holy Spirit after his Ascent into heaven, has given us back our dignity as beloved. Therefore, we each carry the love of God in our bodies and selves. That is why the Church stands for this dignity: in the one newly conceived in the mother’s womb, up to the one about to exhale the last breath (we even respect the dead, how much more the living!). Thus, every one of us alive has that dignity as a beloved who is called to live in love as He has loved us.

Therefore, the 1st reading challenges us to cherish the gift of salvation we have been given in Christ. St. Paul exhorts Timothy to always rekindle the fire of the Spirit of service bestowed on him upon ordination, when the hands of the elders were laid on him. No one is now so young as not to be able to stay focused on one’s ministry with much fidelity and conscientiousness. The Word for today thus calls us towards nurturing our dignity as beloved so it grows and bears much fruit – the salvation of all. To stay faithful and true to the One Who calls us until He comes again – that is the enduring challenge given everyday.

Interestingly, the Gospel reveals a reality each one of us is in: we owe God so much. But since we cannot pay back what we owe, God has forgiven us in His Son. Thus, the challenge is to love as much as we have been forgiven those debts. Loving is really that measure of being loved: we love as much as we have been loved. We love as much as we are conscious of our being loved. We love in as much as we acknowledge being loved. So we ask and pray for as much as we need in order to be able to love back.

Surprisingly, this Word today reminds us of St. James’ word last Sunday: you have faith? Have good works too! If we say we believe, we are thus called to also do good. As we have been loved, so we have believed! And as we believe, we live out our faith in loving works to those God sends us everyday.

May God bless us all. Amen

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fathers Day 2009 Homily

This is to just account for the sharing or homily I delivered on June 21, 2009, the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the 3rd Sunday of the month of June when we celebrate Fathers' Day. The Gospel then was from Mark where he described Jesus sleeping in the boat as it was crossing the Sea of Galilee.

Homily:

On this Fathers' Day, I'd like to share in this homily stories about fathers.

1. A few days ago, a friend told me about her family experience. They were 8 children, and after their father was assassinated, their mother single-handedly brought them up with such strength and discipline. They had to keep the curfew, study well their lessons, and always obey what they were told as children. Immediately after a low score was received, the mother would let them go up to the highest floor of the house where the picture of their father was there. They would be asked to kneel in front of that picture, and ask forgiveness for not doing well in class. Their mother was always noted for these words: "Your father has done everything good for you. He is a well-respected man in our village that even people from Taiwan come and pay respect to him when they come to the Philippines. So, do nothing to blur that good name. Do nothing to disrespect his good name."

Hence, their doing good in class, their coming home on time, their behaving well among themselves (although they'd quarrel every now and then the way siblings normally do) was always in view of the charge to keep their father's good reputation.

I believe that we as children need to remember this good motivation to keep the good reputation of our parents. As good Catholics, it would be good to live like Christ Who only gave good witnessing to the good reputation of His Father Who loves us all.

2. The "Divine Word" in our congregation name has a father-inspiration background. St. Arnold Janssen, when he was still a boy, remembered those times of storm and low harvest, and even when their cows were getting sick, when his father would call the whole family to kneel around the altar as he proclaimed the Prologue of St. John: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God..." The same father would even share at supper with his children the homily of the priest at Sunday Mass. Hence, when Rome tried to disagree with the name he wanted to give our congregation, St. Arnold simply asked them "How come you agreed with Society of Jesus?..."

St. Jude Catholic School and St. Jude Archdiocesan Shrine, two institutions built by our Chinese confreres here beside Malacanang, all have a father-background. The name of the father of one of the school founders happened to be Jude. I haven't heard anything about him, although I would like to believe that had it not been for the good they had left on their children, these children would have never even thought of extending their legacy in their lives.

Hence, this is a challenge for all fathers (and mothers for that purpose): you are their first catechists of your children. Teach them by way of your witnessing to our Catholic faith. Be good role models to your children who will most likely protect your good reputation and most of all, even extend your posterity to the generations behind the children.

3. The third father is a handsome priest my friend mentioned having met at the University of San Carlos in Cebu as a college freshman. "Father, I was an atheist before, but when I saw that handsome priest, I thought "God must exist." Why? Because such a handsome man was willing to offer his life in His service. If God did not exist, surely living like that would be utter foolishness." So, this friend of mine started really learning the catechism until baptism was chosen and administered.

We are really called to make others know that God exists, and that He is with us in our journey.

The early Church had many experiences of trials and tribulations. They were really scary moments, which the storms and the squalls one meets at the Sea of Galilee best symbolize. Jesus "sleeping in their midst" was a figure in their lives which became their refuge. They just had to "awaken Jesus" from slumber, awaken themselves to the fact that indeed they need not be afraid but trust because He is there to calm the storms and give us peace.

I hope this year's Fathers' day will bring us closer to our fathers, challenge us to be good fathers, and give us courage to life for the Father in heaven Whose only will is that we live and have our lives lived to the fullest in His Son.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Holy Trinity Reaching Out to Us

I may be late in writing this reflection because we had already celebrated last Sunday June 7, 2009 the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity. But nonetheless, I'd like to share these thoughts here for those who are searching for some ideas about the Holy Trinity from an experiential perspective. They so spontaneously came as I was administering psychological exams to a seminarian in Tagaytay City. The seminary in Tagaytay is simply so serene and I savored it so much. As the examinee was answering the tests, I just made my silent prayer and reflection in preparation for the Sunday Mass homily as I walked outside the testing area. Thank God indeed for inspiring me with these thoughts which I shared in my Mass that Sunday at the Corinthian Hills. It was even a great coincidence(?) that the readers of that day were the Garcia family: the father, the mother and their only daughter. The human trinity?

As we celebrate one of the tenets of the Christian faith, an indispensable core of our faith and life, i.e., the Blessed Trinity, maybe it is good for us to ask WHO and WHAT is the Trinity for us as Christian. Yes, this dogma in Christianity is not so easy to understand, but the Holy Trinity is very much related to us, and yes, it is relating to us. There is this story of St. Augustine who wanted to go into the depths of the Holy Trinity, that he dreamt walking along the seashore and seeing a child digging a hole in the sand. He stopped and asked the boy what he was doing. The boy said, "I am digging this hole so that I can put the water of the sea into it." St. Augustine was supposed to have exclaimed, "Impossible!" At that the boy was supposed to have disappeared, and lo! he realized that it was an experience of the impossibility of understanding the truth of the Holy Trinity.

From our catechism we all know that the Holy Trinity is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Let me delineate here the three Persons in this One God, the Holy Trinity.

1. The Father, the First Person in the Holy Trinity is the Source and Origin of life - our life and the life of all around us. Isn't He called the Creator - of heaven and earth. Everything that we are, have and will be, everything above us, below us, and with us, both the seen and the unseen - came from Him, God the Father. We were taught that He created everything IN LOVE, OUT OF LOVE, FOR LOVE. Without Love, He wouldn't have created; without Love, He wouldn't be Father. The Father is thus, LOVE.

This implies that individually and socially, even globally, we all came from God. We have a divine origin, and a divine end. The Father is where we all came from, and we hope to end in Him.

2. The Son, The Father's Only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ - is the Second person of the Holy Trinity. In Him, God for us became a human person, a MALE one (why not female? Please ask God when you meet Him), born of a woman like all of us, had a body, mind and spirit. He walked, He talked, felt, related with others like and me do. The God that we have in Christ is no longer simply an idea. In Jesus Christ, we have seen how it is to live the life of a human person. If we'd like to really live as a human person, we have in Him an excellent MODEL - the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity.

This Jesus, our Lord, suffered, died and was buried like you and me. Everyone of us has sufferings, and we will all die. And how we hope to be buried. He died the most ignominious way of dying - the most shameful way - ON THE CROSS. Jesus Christ really showed us the truth of our lives, that we are all crucified to our sins and will die in them.

Yet this Jesus Christ rose from the dead to show us that our lives, borne from God, are not only meant for dying. He showed us that we are meant to live eternally, to rise from our own graves and deaths, living the Resurrection itself in our lives. He ascended into heaven. His life was brought up to heaven. And when we live like Him and follow Him, we are called to likewise go to heaven and be with Him at the side of the Father. Just look at His Mother who was assumed into heaven.

3. The Holy Spirit is the 3rd Person of the Holy Trinity. He was sent from above by the Father and the Son. He witnesses and points to the Son so we can follow and serve Him. he breathes on us the Father's Love Itself.

If the Father created us and gave us a model in life, He gave us the Holy Spirit to abide by us, protecting us, sustaining us. It is the Holy Spirit Who inspires us to pray, to be good to others, to love them and grow as human persons. When we are in the Holy Spirit, indeed we are blessed in every single moment of our lives. We are not alone, not abandoned when the Holy Spirit is with us. While we believe that God the Father and Son are in heaven, God the Holy Spirit tells us that He is with us, in us, and even through us.

When we look at the sacramental life we live in the Church, the Holy Spirit is there and has been given to us.

At Baptism, the Holy Spirit has made us children of God.

At Confirmation, the Holy Spirit strengthens us.

At the Holy Eucharist, the Holy Spirit gives us the life of our Lord Jesus Christ.

At the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession, the Holy Spirit inspires us to be contrite of heart, amend our lives, and He forgives us.

At the Anointing of the Sick, the Holy Spirit heals us of our ills and restores us to health and life.

At Matrimony, the Holy Spirit makes the couple Jesus Christs, loving and being loved in their mutual service as husband and wife, in their love for their children, like Him Who gave His life for the service of everyone in the human race.

At Holy orders, the Holy Spirit shows us His preference for us, His Choice for us to belong to Him. He continues to teach and renew us.

Just looking at these celebrations of our life in Christ, it is the Holy Spirit Who leads us in every moment of our lives.

Hence now we see that the Holy Trinity is no longer simply an idea of God for us. God is a Person, in fact 3 Persons reaching out to us: in love, loving and constantly abiding. Indeed the Holy Trinity tells us that God is alive, the God of the living. He started life, gave us life, and will lead our lives to eternal life.

That is why we say WE LIVE FOR the FATHER, WITH the SON, IN the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Trinity is really our God, and we belong to Him, Amen.

God bless