Message of Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon on Trinity Sunday

Happy Feast of the Holy Trinity.

This marvelous feast comes this year at the juncture of humanity’s prayer for peace and healing. May the Power of Trinity touch each one of you.

May the Blessings of the Trinity, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit fill every corner of your house and bring joy, peace and good health to all. 

This blessing unites us with the past, present and future. We celebrate with joy, God the Father, the creator, the Son, the savior and liberator, and the Holy Spirit, the counselor and consoler. Let this feast of Trinity come as a healing power of a wounded planet.

The experience and concept of Trinity is an enriching faith experience, yet it could be challenging. Not only for ordinary people, but even to theological giants like St. Augustine.

Many of us are familiar with the old story of St. Augustine walking along the beach one day, taking a break from writing his treatise on the Trinity, whose Solemnity we celebrate today.  

The great scholar just couldn’t get his mind around this great mystery. The story goes that he saw a little boy digging a hole in the sand, and then running to the ocean, filling up his hands with the seawater, running back to the hole and emptying the water into the hole.  

Augustine watched as the child went back and forth several times. Finally he said to the boy, “What are you doing?” The boy said, “Trying to fill that hole with the ocean.” And Augustine said, “You’ll never fit the ocean in that hole.”  

And the boy said, “Neither will you be able to fit the Trinity into your mind.”

Yes. Trinity is neither a concept, nor a theological jugglery. Trinity is a relationship, Trinity is a deep  and moving experience. Trinity is God’s Love in action. Trinity is about living in community, for community, as expressed in the Trinitarian concept of God as a Community. Trinity is union of three persons with humanity. "Tri" means three and “nity” refers to unity. Three Persons united in one Godhead.

Trinity is a relationship with a living, loving and liberating God. The Feast of Trinity comes at a time when trials and tribulations confront a wounded world. The family, the country, and the world can  learn from the Trinity how to live in a nurturing life empowered by a sense of sharing community.

A Trinitarian God is a revolutionary understanding of God. He is the vengeful, egoistic, all powerful macho God, seeking payback for our shortcomings. That understanding has been the root cause of conflict and killing in the name of God.

The Trinitarian understanding of God is very empowering and liberating: He is a God who lives in community. There is no power. It is love shared among three persons of the Trinity. God lives in   harmonious community, humanity can solve its problem through a sense of community and common good. God shares everything among the Trinity, we too can seek an equitable world where greater justice is done for all.

The Bible defines the three persons succinctly:

  1. God the Father showed unconditional love. He was not hesitant to sacrifice his own Son: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, not to condemn but to redeem.” (John 3: 16)
  2. God the Son showed Sacrificial Love - Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. (John 15:13)
  3. God the Holy Spirit  who empowers our growth through his gifts: I Cor 12: 8-10

Trinity is love, trinity is sacrifice, trinity is our energy for development.

Trinity is the unity in harmony, unity in sharing, unity in mutual enrichment.

Trinity is the inspiration and road map for our life in family, in our country and in our world.  

On this great feast day, we turn away from the theological and philosophical abstracts and turn towards how the exemplary life of Trinity can guide us in our lives.

As we look around many families lie wounded, our country remains wounded and the world is at war with itself. It is not the COVID that is destroying humanity. It is the anti Trinitarian tendency that has infected the family, country and the world.

I. Let us take the family. What is the message of the Trinity?

The trinity of the family is the father, mother and children.

What are the Trinitarian traits of a family :

  • The unconditional love of the father for his family, his wife, and children
  • The self sacrificial love of the mother to nurture the family
  • The ethical development of the children based on faith

What are the obstacles to Trinitarian spirit of Unity in family life?

  • Lack of a sense of family, lack of love of the father, arrogant and violent control by the father, lack of forgiveness, abusive relationships with the wife and children, refusal to share in harmony, domestic violence  against the wife and children.
  • Lack of sacrificial love from the mother, egoistic conflicts with the husband and children, lack of give and take, relationship based on business, refusal to lead the family in faith.
  • Lack of gratitude from children, lack of ethics and initiatives in life, lack of respect to the parents. Wasting God given talents and times.

Families need to be healed by Trinitarian gifts of love, sacrifice and hard work.

More than any other Christians, Catholics live the deep sense of Trinity through the sign of the Cross, which we make many times in the day. We call upon the Trinitarian God to bless our head, the seat of knowledge and wisdom, the heart, the seat of love and  shoulders, the seat of our actions.  

Trinity teach us to seek unity in diversity.

II. Secondly the Trinity has great lessons for our country Myanmar. What is the message of Trinity to our country? What is the message to the three major stakeholders in this country: The military, the government, and the people of this nation?

This country has been bleeding for six decades with war, conflict and displacement. The Trinity has blessed this country with so many gifts. The three major actors: The military, the government and the people of Myanmar need to  strengthen the Trinitarian traits of Unity and sharing. This country needs to reflect the Trinitarian equitable and harmonious living and unity. We are created for Unity, the Union of Myanmar.

  1. The Father’s love expressed through creation of this nation as a jewel on the earth with so many gifts: God the Father has partial love for the people of Myanmar. He has given so many treasures above the ground and below the ground, so that all of us can live in prosperity and unity. Really this nation is the Garden of Eden and God’s command to this nation is “Go and Together prosper in unity”.
  2. We are a great nation of various tribes and creeds: 135 tribes and a colorful nation of great people. Myanmar is God’s flower park of scintillating diversity of people and nationalities. Unity in Diversity, Dignity in Diversity. We are a graceful people. Jesus prays for our nations “That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us.’  (John 17:21)
  3. A nation of gifted youngsters, a nation so young that 60 percent of its people are below the age of 40 and energetic. A nation blessed with great human resource, a nation of great promise. The parable of the talents (Mt. 25) indicates that more than our jade and gold and all the natural resources, Myanmar’s greatest asset is our people. Equal opportunities to all will bring Unity in this nation. Ours is a nation of promise of prosperity. That Trinitarian hope unites us all.

But God who blessed us so much seemed to have forgotten to bless us with peace. There are major obstacles to the Trinitarian Road Map of Unity, Peace, and Prosperity.

Ours is a wounded nation. Slowly it is healing itself. Wars, displacement and unsafe migration and dangerous diseases have wounded us as a people and nation. On this great feast of Trinity, we offer our Golden land to the protection of God’s great love, Christ’s salvific love and the nurturing protection of the Holy Spirit. We pray that the following obstacles to Trinitarian blessing to this nation be melted by the intervention of Trinity

  1. Divisions and lack of sharing. God the Father’s great blessings of the natural resources are a great source of conflict. Internal wars, deaths and displacement have anguished our motherland. Lack of equitable sharing and looting of resources in total violation of the unity and sharing principle of Trinity has only brought tears and shatter to sons and daughters of this great nation.
  2. Selfishness and avarice of those who had power: This nation was once the richest nation in South East Asia. God’s blessings of nature and human resource were envy of all nations. Sadly in the past this nation fell into the hands of men of avarice. To these men of small mind is the sad credit of turning one of the richest countries in Asia into one of the poorest. Poverty is an offence against God’s blessings on this nation.
  3. Religions: silence over narratives of hatred: This golden land has been wounded by venomous narratives of hatred propagated by malicious men who masquerade as religious men. Trinity is a great show of sharing and love and concern. These traits were nullified by a handful of men who unleashed religious and ethnic hate speech provoking international outrage.

May the Trinity which blessed our nation with treasures, bless us with the treasure of unity and peace.

A house divided against itself wounds itself. Jesus himself urged us to see God in community: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in their midst” (Mt 18:20). And he warned emphasizing the corrosive nature of division, Jesus reminds us in St. Mark’s Gospel (3:25) that “if a house is divided against itself it cannot stand.”

Great US leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Obama strongly advocated Trinitarian attribute of unity and harmony for the betterment of humanity. The unity principle of Trinitarian God was emphasized by Abraham Lincoln who said: “United, we stand (as a nation,) divided we sink into hell.” President Obama urged the divided America to promote unity by saying “There is no poor America, there is no rich America, there is only a United States of America, there is no black America, there is no white America, there is only a United States of America.”

Yes, the world powers seek the Unity Principle expressed so eloquently in the Trinitarian Principle.

Not only nations, but every human being is in need of the Trinitarian principle of dignity in the community: God created all of us in his image. Human dignity comes from God. Trinity informs us without community there is no human dignity. Human dignity in and through community: that is the Trinitarian roadmap.  

We are not an Island. We live in a world that struggles hard to bring the Trinitarian sense of sharing and unity. This  world is a wounded planet. It urgently needs three measures to heal and save this planet.

Trinitarian traits that  are urgently needed for the world.

  • Justice: Pope Francis, based on the Biblical discourses on Justice has constantly urged that the humanity which is fragmented by poverty and ecological disasters need to forge a unity through economic and ecological justice, especially for the poor countries. COVID proved that a virus can bring to knees the mighty empire when unity is absent among the countries.
  • An Economy at the service of humanity: Universal prosperity is a possible destiny for the human race. This can be achieved through a recasting of economy that is at the service of all human race, not an economy that enslaves the poor and the vulnerable.
  • A return to the Spiritual Traditions: The tyranny of relativism, as indicated by Pope Benedict has wrought havoc to human civilization. This has resulted in commodification of the sacred dignity of human beings. Human dignity is the heart of Trinitarian concept of humanity. When humanity was diluted, God sent his only son to save it. Drinking from the spiritual resources will make the world a community  of universal brotherhood.

The major obstacles to a Trinitarian World

A world anguished by ceaseless wars and displacement: Nearly 65 million people on this earth are refugees or displaced in this God created world. Wars and war machines have nullified the great salvific work of the Trinity. Money and military grandeur could not bring to this nation – and many other nations – harmony, love and sharing  exampled by the Trinitarian God. Color of the skin, not the character became yardstick of human dignity. Community Collapsed and mobs took over.

  1. A world that created a huge percentage of disinherited Majority: The world today is owned by ten corporations and less than 400 individuals making the majority of people  to intergenerational poverty and suffering.
  2. Division of humanity in the name of religions:  Religions are a double edged sword. They are for enhancing humanity to higher plain of mutual love and seeing God in each other. Sadly religion is abused by many powers to create huge suffering through conflicts.

It has deep impact on our understanding of human rights. Human dignity comes only in Community. In a world of violence and abuses, the example of Trinity is our hope. In our own golden land we have lived through the pain of war, displacement and the pestering wound of poverty. Let this feast of  Trinity bring healing to all especially out poor and the neglected ones.

Come O Triune God, heal our planet wounded by the Pandemic and war and diseases and make our humanity to live in harmony, unity and sharing as the three persons  - God the Father, the Son and the Spirit – live in unity.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.