Trinity Sunday/Father’s Day/HCSM anniversary
HCSM, June 19, 2011
The Rev. Leonard Oakes
The beauty and joy of last Sunday’s celebration of Pentecost with The Rev. Dr. Fred Vergara, are still alive and fresh in my heart. Thank you all for sharing the presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst that day. The Holy Spirit surely continues to be present among us even now and until the end of the ages. And that is the gift of the Loving Father who said he is not going to leave us orphaned or abandoned but through His Son, we are restored to a relationship with Him and He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us and unite us into all truth until that time comes when we all come together to that undiscovered country from whose Bourne to traveler returns, that house not made by hands eternal in the heavens.
The story is told about two long-lost classmates sharing stories about their lives and loves. One of the ladies said: “I married a librarian and a vegetarian. Everything was fine, till he became ‘trinitarian’—me, him and another woman. That’s when he became mysterious, hard to catch and understand. That’s when all our troubles began.”
Today is Trinity Sunday. Troubles begin when most preachers find the topic of Trinity to be hard to explain hence they end up sharing about other topics. Thanks be to God for father’s day and in our occasion, the church anniversary.
But I wouldn’t like to leave that topic unattended, so all I could say about our faith in the Trinity is, there are many truths we cannot figure out nor understand with our minds. The mystery of the Trinity is one of them. But then, a lot of truths need not be understood by the mind but with the heart, and with faith like that of a child. There are a lot of unknowns and question marks we encounter in life. If so, do we give up, and conclude that life is incomplete and absurd, and open ourselves to cynicism and doubts? Precisely because life is incomplete, we need faith. We need belief. We need commitment. We need trust.
Even if the Trinity is a mystery that is hard to understand, it is a beautiful mystery! It invites us to a life of union and love with God. Other religions speak of a God who commands homage, but the Christian God invites people to a personal relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The best way to approach the mystery of the Trinity is by way of humility. That is the starting point. As we go deeper into the mystery, may we meet gratitude along the way. And as we take the road of gratitude, may it lead us to love. As we encounter and experience deeply the Trinity, may we become more humble, more grateful and more loving persons!
Let the Trinitarian spirit of reaching out and self-giving guide us. We all must go out of our comfort zones baptizing and reaching out to people in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for God is with us until the end of ages. For us to move on, we must cross over from “us” and “they,” toward “we.”
A good question for all of us to ask ourselves today is: Am I a source of peace and unity? By my words and life, am I a plus or a minus factor toward peace and unity? The outcome to this is the question: Am I a blessing or a burden for others? In other words, we must raise again the question whether this world became a better place because we passed by.
Today is father’s day. It was said that behind all beautiful women are better men. May I request all the fathers and grandfathers, godfathers and surrogate fathers to please rise for recognition? Let us give a round of applause to all good and better fathers and grandfathers or any man who stands as a parent or guardian to our children. We salute these men for being the torch bearer of love of God and Family. Fathers who strive to uphold that torch and pass on to their children their traits, physical genes, hair color, eye color and size. Such torch also carries the flame of their spiritual and emotional DNA: Great Attitudes, good habits and impressive mind-sets. The passing of the torch becomes a tradition where our children will get to run a few laps and hand it to their children, and on and on. Every lap that we run with purpose, passion, and integrity is one more lap that can be used for good by those that come after us. In a sense, the laps we run will put future generations further down the road toward significance and success. Let us continue to pass a line better off than it was before. Let not selfishness, addictions, or bad habits diminish the light of the torch and your life. Let everything about our lives now to make it easier for those who will come after us.
As a father and a godfather, I took my son Joshua and my godsons who are now considered in the youth category to St. Dorothy’s Rest for the Asian Youth summer camp last Wednesday thru Friday. It was so good to be with nature and all of God’s creation. The youth enjoyed canoeing, and hiking and just being with other youths away from game cubes, x-box and televisions. It made me proud to be a parent. I know you also make your time and space to be with your family in places that would impress good memories in their minds of your lives together. Let us continue to uphold that family moments.
It is also our church anniversary! It is our 18th year anniversary!! Let us give ourselves a round of applause!! We have come this far with the Holy Spirit ever blessed us with His presence!! Look around you, inside and out. What do you see? Who do you see? How do you feel? I said to you in the beginning of our journey, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Fr. Vito Villalon and those who have gone before us are surely happy to see the fruit of their labors.
We thank God for the many blessings he has given us in this holy place; the gift of friends, visitors, families and all. Thank God for the gifts of ministry, in-reach and in our out-reach programs. And in every miracle that happens in and around us, thank God.
Let me personally announce to you that at the last meeting of the bishop committee, the committee unanimously approved during my absence, that beginning July of this year, I will be your full time Vicar. Thank you all for your supports and prayers. My wife is more than willing to extend her services to the church in her capacities. Our children have become so active in every liturgical and outreach programs. I thank you for giving us the love. Now, let us share that to you and your families as well, with humility.
Let me just add that I intend to keep my Nursing License and my nursing skills up to date, hence, I will still visit patients in the fields who may need my presence, my love and care as part of my pastoral visits during my days off.
Last week, the bishop called me on the phone and said, “Leonard, I think Holy Child and St. Martin is ready to apply for parish status.” I asked him with great curiosity, “What made you think we can, bishop? You know that we don’t have a school or any other source of income to be able to sustain a parish. ” He replied, “Your people have significantly increased and your givers are more inspired to support the church and her programs.” I said, “Thank you for the encouragements. I will certainly bring this up to the committee and the members and will continue to dream with positive results in the coming years.”
Let me tell you, that was a great challenge!! I couldn’t sleep. Negative thoughts try to flood my vision. I am aware that such challenge entails a lot of prayers and good decisions. I can only think positive as I am always reminded by the words of St. Paul, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” I shared this to the Senior Warden and the Rev. Dr. Lynn and they smiled.
It is not impossible to dream. As the song goes “To dream the impossible dream, to touch the unreachable stars, And I know if we’ll only be true To this glorious quest That our heart will lie peaceful and calm” I know for certain that the love of God is with us, and if this is what He plans for, then let it be according to His will.
Let us keep a great vision with the Triune God being on our side. Let us always be inspired with the torch of life in the family and humble ourselves as we come together as a church, built with the very foundation of Faith with God, Hope in the resurrection and Love that surpasses all understanding as the basis of our being.
I greet you all again, happy Trinity Sunday, happy father’s day and happy church anniversary to all. Amen.