My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
As I was saying, today is a special day. First because, as we know, we are celebrating the central mystery of our faith — the Trinity, the reality of the living God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
It is also Father’s Day. So we want to wish a happy and blessed Father’s Day to all our fathers and grandfathers. We also want to remember today, all our fathers and grandfathers who have gone before us and are in heaven.
To be a father is a beautiful and a noble vocation, a calling to serve and to love and to sacrifice. And in the love that a father has for his children, we see the love that God our Father has for us.
I was thinking that this is one of the beautiful realities of our faith — that in the divine design, our family relationships on earth are meant to reveal to us the truth about our relationship with God.
The One God is a unity and a Trinity — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is one because God is love and the Father is love, the Son is love and the Spirit is love.
In the heart of God, in the heart of the Most Holy Trinity, the Father gives everything in love to the Son; the Son receives everything from the Father in thanksgiving; and the Holy Spirit is the beautiful fruit of this love that the Father has for the Son and the Son has for the Father.
In our readings today for this solemnity, we hear God described in his wonderful works.
He is the Father, the Creator of all that is in the universe. He is the Only-Begotten Son, the divine Wisdom made incarnate. And he is the Holy Spirit who is the Lord who gives life and moves all of history in the ways of God’s plan of love.
The Blessed Trinity finds delight in the human race, the first reading tells us. That means each one of us. We are a part of God’s plan, my dear brothers and sisters.
And as St. Paul tells us in the second reading: Jesus pours out the love of God from his heart to our heart — through his Holy Spirit.
Jesus says in the Gospel today — that the Father has given everything to him. And he promises us that the Holy Spirit will guide us to all truth.
God really loves reach one of us, in a very special way. In a very powerful way. And Jesus tells us today in the Gospel that he will be with us — every step of the way, in every moment of our journey. He gives us his Spirit to walk with us and guide us to the truth.
It’s just so beautiful to reflect on these realities of our faith. It’s just great to think and meditate on the fact that God is our Father. That Jesus is our close and intimate friend who loves us with a great and special love. That the Holy Spirit is our Consoler and Counselor, that he is here to guide us in our lives.
That’s why this feast day is so special, because we see the reality of God’s love for each one of us and how he’s always there, helping us on our way.
So today as we reflect on the beautiful mystery of the Trinity, let us ask for the grace to grow in our friendship with each one of the three divine Persons of the Trinity. We need to grow as children of God the Father. We need to grow as brothers and sisters of Jesus. And we need to open ourselves to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
It is indeed a special day in the life of the Church today.
And also today, moving to another issue, I need to speak to you about something serious that is going on in the California state legislature. And I asked that a letter will be read in every Mass today in the whole Archdiocese of Los Angeles. And the letter is about this issue and I’ll read it to you.
Our lawmakers are considering a bill that would take away the full right to Confession from priests and from everyone who works with priests in parishes and Church agencies across the state.
The legislators have good intentions. They want to prevent child abuse. But there is no evidence that this legislation will do that. Instead, it threatens a practice that is essential to our faith and religious identity.
The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, what we call Confession, was the first gift that Jesus gave to the world after rising from the dead. On the first Easter night, he breathed his Holy Spirit into his apostles, his first priests, and he granted them the awesome power to forgive sins in his name.
Jesus gave us this gift so that could always come to him personally to confess our sins and seek his forgiveness and the grace to continue on our Christian journey. In practice, as we know, this Sacrament takes place in a humble and honest conversation that we have with a priest who is ordained to serve as the sign and the instrument of Christ’s merciful love for us as sinners.
When we confess our sins, not to a man, but to God. The priest stands in the place of Jesus, and the words he hears in the Confessional are not spoken to him. They are words addressed to God. This is why the priest has a sacred duty to keep the seal of the confessional and never to disclose what he hears in sacramental Confession for any reason. This ancient practice ensures that our confessions are always intimate communications with Jesus alone.
And as we all know, it is a great feeling to be able to speak to Jesus with total freedom and complete honesty in the confessional.
We tell of our love for him. We express sorrow for our sins and our sincere intent not to commit these sins again. We accept the penance that is give to us. We receive spiritual guidance and encouragement. And through the ministry of the priest, Jesus speaks to us personally, those beautiful words that set us free: “I absolve you of your sins.”
But everything about this beautiful relationship depends on the divine assurance that what we say to Jesus in this sacrament will remain private and confidential.
This is why I am urging you today to write to our lawmakers. We cannot allow the government to enter into our confessionals, to dictate the terms of our personal relationship with Jesus.
Unfortunately, this is what this legislation will do. We need your help to pray and work to protect this Sacrament of Confession and to strengthen our commitment to building a society where every child is loved and protected and safe.
And let us entrust these intentions to the loving care of Mary, our Blessed Mother and the Mother of God, the Most Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
1. Readings: Prov. 8:22-31; Ps. 8:4-9; Rom. 5:1-5; John 16:12-15.