Our Sunday is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. One God. Three Persons. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. What is the Holy Trinity for us? First and foremost, the Holy Trinity is truth. It is truth not like the other truths. It is not a truth invented by men. It is not a truth discovered by men. It is a truth that God Himself revealed to men and women. The origin of the Holy Trinity, truth, is not the human heart. It is the Divine Heart opening Himself to us, saying to us, “I am One and I am Three.” So the Holy Trinity is truth revealed by God to us. This is not an invention, this is not a discovery, this is not a finding of any person because regardless of what we do, we unravel this mystery. We believe in the Holy Trinity because God revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and as One.
Second, the Holy Trinity is our identity. We are baptized in the name of the Trinity; we are blessed in the name of the Trinity; we worship the Holy Trinity; and when we die, we will be commended in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. So the Holy Trinity is our identity. We make the Sign of the Cross when we pray. We make the Sign of the Cross when we begin something. And 499 years ago was the first time the words, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” were uttered in our land. So the Holy Spirit is our identity and when we make the Sign of the Cross, we say, “I am a Christian.” We say, “I am a Catholic.” We say, “I believe in one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
Third, the Holy Spirit is love. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, but there is no competition; rather there is communion of love between the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Love which liberates. Love which does not coerce. Love which does not threaten. Love which is always patient. Love which is always kind. Please remember those three, my dear brothers and sisters. The Holy Trinity is truth revealed by God; the Holy Trinity is our identity as Catholic Christians; and the Holy Trinity is the perfection of love, love that sets us free.
And now we ask, “So what? What is the connection of the Holy Trinity with what is happening in the Philippines?” Are you really happy with how the Philippines is right now? Really happy? Can you stand up in the family of nations and say proudly, “Ako ay Pilipino”? Many of us are asking what is happening to our country, why have we become like this? What is happening to our country, why is it so disorderly? What is happening to our country, why are the number of unemployed and hungry increasing? What is happening to our country, why are so many people being cursed and threatened to be killed? What is happening to our country, why do look after some, just stare at others, and ignore others? What is happening to us?
My dear brothers and sisters, I am not happy with how our country is doing right now. Maybe I am alone, maybe I don’t see what you see and you have to teach me. In my heart of hearts, I say, “What is wrong with us? Why have we become like this?” Our affluence, our convenience, our connectivity have led us to boredom. We do not know the meaning of life even if we enjoy comfort and convenience. The eroticism that is so widespread has made us impotent to love and to care.
Our former strength as the only Catholic country in Asia has become a vulnerability, has become a liability; and we Catholics, we your priests and bishops, have been presented as troublemakers— obstacles to progress. Years ago when Pope Paul VI came to the Philippines, he said the Philippines is the light for Asia. Years ago when Saint Pope John Paul II visited us for two times, he said the Philippines is the hope for Asia, it is the beacon of light for Asia. As the children would say, “An’yare?” What happened?
We used to be very proud that we are Filipinos. What happened? I dare to answer and say the problem of our country is that we have forgotten the Holy Trinity. The problem our country is that we have become, not only forgetful and negligent of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Not only forgetful and negligent, we have become enemies of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We have chosen the opposite position of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. What do I mean? Did I not tell you that the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and The Holy Spirit—is truth? And it is truth not invented by men; it is truth revealed by God! And now my dear brothers and sisters, where is the truth in our country?
Now my dear brothers and sisters, are we still men and women of the truth in this country? Isn’t it true that fake news is now more interesting than the truth? Isn’t it true that promoters of fake news are glorified and the truth tellers and truth proclaimers are jailed? The truth is our power! The truth is our treasure! Truth is our weapon against self-destruction! And when we forget the truth, lies will not destroy us; we will destroy ourselves! And that is what we are doing now. We are destroying ourselves because when lies have become our light, then darkness has become our light. And if darkness is leading us, we will move from darkness into deeper darkness. We will move from destruction to deeper destruction because we have forgotten the divine truths revealed to us by God. Brothers and sisters, it is not too late! Truth is not an invention of men. Truth is not an invention of fake news trolls. Truth is from God and when we forget God, we destroy ourselves.
Second, The Holy Trinity is our identity. We are known by it. Side-by-side with Iglesia ni Cristo, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus, we Catholic Christians make the Sign of the Cross and they don’t. It is our identity. We are known as people who worship the One God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Why is identity important? Because if we do not know who we are anymore, we will allow the enemies of truth to play around with us. We must identify the enemy and we must identify ourselves. And we must not think like the enemy. The enemy is enemy, destroying our identity. And it is our duty as believers in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to make sure that we preserve the identity we have received from the Lord and never to compromise it.
We are men and women who belong to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. How do we proclaim our faith in the Holy Trinity? By making the Sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. In other words, our identity is not just horizontal; it is also vertical. But look at our society, we just identify one another as leftists and rightists. We just identify one another from one political mainstream to another political mainstream. From left to right, the vertical is lacking. And when this happens, when we identify ourselves as rightists and leftists, what will happen to us? We will tear ourselves apart because there is no vertical that will unite us!
Brothers and sisters, our identity is the Holy Trinity and our identity is the vertical and the horizontal of the Cross. Let us not reduce our Filipino identity to simply being DDS or Dilawan, to simply being terrorist or victim, to simply being criminal or innocent, to simply being rightist or leftist, progressive or conservative. Know, my dear brothers and sisters, beyond these differences on the horizontal, there is the vertical that unites us; and that vertical is God. And when we forget God, we will just beat up one another. We will be torn apart! We will be separated! We will be divided because our perspective will be left or right only and we do not know how to look up to God. Our identity is the Trinity and our identity is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—the vertical and the horizontal. We are not just a community, we are a community called by God.
The Holy Trinity is truth. The Holy Trinity is our identity. And last, the Holy Trinity is love and how does love manifest itself? By freedom. True love does not enslave. True love does not threaten, true love does not coerce. True love casts away fears. And what is happening to our country, I am very afraid, is that there is an implied persecution of our faith because going to Mass, receiving the Holy Eucharist, worshipping the Lord is slammed together in the same group as going to the barbershop and going to the theater to watch a movie. The malls are opened; the markets are opened; the offices are opened; and they say the Church cannot open—under general quarantine, only then.
Is that fair? Is it just? Is it just to be prevented from worshipping the Lord in spirit and in truth? We are told to follow the law because we are a nation of laws and the laws are the roots of the tree; and the political system is like the trunk and the leaves and the branches are like the culture of our country. But the roots, what holds the roots? Soil. if there is no soil, the roots will dry, the roots will wither, and what is the soil? That soil is our freedom to worship. That soil is our moral reasoning. That soil is the moral ethical standard of our country. And when we forget the Holy Trinity, when we forget God, we say, “Obey the laws.” And the laws cannot hold. They need soil. And where is the soil? We have removed the soil from the roots and very soon, the tree will die.
My dear brothers and sisters, our problem in the country is Trinitarian. We have forgotten the truth that comes only from God and not from men and women. We have forgotten our identity which is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the vertical and the horizontal together. We have divided ourselves as left and right, progressive and conservative. It is not so. Our identity is not that. Our identity is the Holy Trinity: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—vertical and horizontal intercrossing. The Holy Trinity invites us to love and true love is liberating. True love respects freedom.
The next time you make The Sign of the Cross, please say to yourself, “I have a duty to live for the truth and fight lies.” The next time you make the Sign of the Cross, commit to unite the left and the right by the power of our vertical worship, to unite everything that unites us by the power of the divine, of the spiritual. And when our freedoms are restricted and when we are prevented from worshipping the Lord, turn to the Lord and say, “Lord, we trust in your love. Help us to love like you. And may our love be truly liberating. May your love truly set us free.”
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, renew our land. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, our land is destroying itself. Rescue us from drowning. Rescue us from withering and dying. Rescue us and help us to become truly men and women of the truth, men and women identifying with the cross, men and women who live in freedom because we are men and women who love like the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.