Monthly Archives: May 2008

Saturday, 31 May – Visitors

31 May – Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Eternal Father,
you inspired the Virgin Mary, mother of your Son,
to visit Elizabeth and assist her in her need.
Keep us open to the working of your Spirit,
and with Mary may we praise you for ever

(Opening prayer on this feast day)
____________________

Zephaniah 3:14-18

Shout for joy, daughter of Zion,
Israel, shout aloud!
Rejoice, exult with all your heart,
daughter of Jerusalem!
The Lord has repealed your sentence;
he has driven your enemies away.
The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst:
you have no more evil to fear.
When that day comes, word will come to Jerusalem;
Zion, have no fear,
do not let your hands fall limp.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a victorious warrior.
He will exult with joy over you,
he will renew you by his love;
he will dance with shouts of joy for you
as on a day of festival.

____________________

Luke 1:39-56

Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made to her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’

And Mary said:

‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things to me.
Holy is his name,
and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.
He has shown the power of his arm,
he has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy
– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –
of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendents for ever.’

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.
____________________

Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?

Think back to a time when someone paid us an unexpected visit. What was our reaction? Most of the time, we prefer it when our visitor first gives us a call to let us know that they are coming, so that we have time to get the house in order, prepare food and drinks, and so on. What is it that we are really concerned about when someone visits? But if you think about it, if our visitor were really concerned about how we would appear to them, they would have called in advance before coming, wouldn’t they?

When Mary paid her cousin Elizabeth a visit, it was likely that Elizabeth was not expecting her. But Elizabeth welcomed her all the same. She was not so concerned about whether she had food to serve Mary or whether the house was tidy. Rather, she was more interested in her visitor, and we can see that in the joy she expressed in welcoming Mary into her own home. Her joy was doubled when she realized that Mary carried her Lord within her womb.

Likewise, when we welcome unexpected visitors into our own home, let us remember that the most important person is our visitor, not ourselves and how we appear to them. Let us welcome them with joy, not dismay, and perhaps through their visit, we may experience a visit from our Lord as well.

(Today’s reflection by Daniel Tay)
____________________

Prayer: We pray for all who are in the hospitality industry, that they may always welcome each person with genuine joy for the goodness of the person and who they may be carrying with them. Amen.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to all the visitors, expected and unexpected, who have visited us in our homes in the past, and will visit us in future.
____________________

Upcoming readings:
01 Jun, Sun – Deuteronomy 11:18,26-28,32; Romans 3:21-25,28; Matthew 7:21-27; Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
____________________
To subscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
To unsubscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
____________________

Friday, 30 May – The Feminine Side of God

30 May – Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The heart has always been seen as the “center” or essence a person (“the heart of the matter,” “you are my heart,” “take it to heart,” etc.) and the wellspring of our emotional lives and love (“you break my heart,” “my heart sings,” etc.) Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is devotion to Jesus Christ Himself, but in the particular ways of meditating on His interior life and on His threefold love – His divine love, His burning love that fed His human will, and His sensible love that affects His interior life.

(from “Sisters of Carmel: Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus” – http://www.sistersofcarmel.com/devotion-to-the-sacred-heart-of-jesus.php)
____________________

Deuteronomy 7:6-11

Moses said to the people: “You are a people consecrated to the Lord your God; it is you that the Lord our God has chosen to be his very own people out of all the peoples on the earth.

“If the Lord set his heart on you and chose you, it was not because you outnumbered other peoples: you were the least of all peoples. It was for love of you and to keep the oath he swore to your fathers that the Lord brought you out with his mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know then that the Lord your God is God indeed, the faithful God who is true to his covenant and his graciousness for a thousand generations towards those who love him and keep his commandments, but who punishes in their own persons those that hate him; he makes him work out his punishment in person. You are therefore to keep and observe the commandments and statues and ordinances that I lay down for you today.”
____________________

1 John 4:7-16

My dear people,
let us love one another
since love comes from God
and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Anyone who fails to love can never have known God,
because God is love.
God’s love for us was revealed
when God sent into the world his only Son
so that we could have life through him;
this is the love I mean:
not our love for God,
but God’s love for us when he sent his Son
to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.
My dear people,
since God ahs loved us so much,
we too should love one another.
No one has ever seen God;
but as long as we love one another
God will live in us
and his love will be complete in us.
We can know that we are living in him
and he is living in us
because he lets us share his Spirit.
we ourselves saw and we testify
that the Father sent his Son
as saviour of the world.
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God lives in him, and he in God.
We ourselves have known and put our faith in
God’s love towards ourselves.
God is love
and anyone who lives in love lives in God,
and God lives in him.

____________________

Matthew 11:25-30

Jesus exclaimed, “I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything ahs been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heat, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
____________________

If the Lord set his heart on you and chose you, it was not because you outnumbered other people: you were the least of all peoples.

Unless we are in the medical field, usually when we speak of the heart, we are not referring to the muscular organ that pumps blood through our bodies. In fact, before people came to know about the functions of the brain, it was thought that the heart did all the thinking and the feeling. When we say that we set our hearts on something, we really mean that we set our minds to it, don’t we? When we look at a married couple, it is usually the case that the man is the brain, the rational reasoning side of the relationship, while the woman is the heart, the emotional side. So when we speak about the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we are, in fact, referring to the feminine side of our Lord.

Looking at all the readings for today you will find that, contrary to popular belief, our God is not a masculine God. Our Lord has many feminine elements too. In the first reading, our Lord is moved out of compassion to choose the people of Israel because they were the least of all peoples. In the second reading, we find that God out of love for us sends Jesus, the only Son of God, to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away. In the gospel reading, we see Jesus calling those whose souls are overburdened to rest in a way that only the feminine side of our humanity can understand.

There are times in our lives when our Christian faith is challenged for being too masculine. It is good for us to take some time today to ask our Lord to show us the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in which we will find the feminine side of our Lord. For God created us humans in His own image – male and female the Lord made us, which stands to say that both our male and female sides of humanity can be found in our Lord.

(Today’s reflection by Daniel Tay)
____________________

Prayer: We pray for all Christians who are angry at God, that they may find rest and solace in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Amen.

Thanksgiving: give thanks to our Lord for revealing His feminine side to us in His Sacred Heart.
____________________

Upcoming readings:
31 May, Sat – Zephaniah 3:14-18 ; Luke 1:39-56; Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
01 Jun, Sun – Deuteronomy 11:18,26-28,32; Romans 3:21-25,28; Matthew 7:21-27; Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
____________________
To subscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
To unsubscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
____________________

Thursday, 29 May – When Resistance is NOT Futile

29 May – Eight Week in Ordinary Time: Thursday
____________________

1 Peter 2:2-5. 9-12

You are new born, like babies, you should be hungry for nothing but milk – the spiritual honesty which will help you to grow up to salvation – now that you have tasted the goodness of the Lord.

He is the living stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him; set yourselves close to him so that you too, the holy priesthood that offers the spiritual sacrifices which Jesus Christ has made acceptable to God, may be living stones making a spiritual house.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people at all and now you are the People of God; once you were outside the mercy and now you have been given mercy.

I urge you, my dear people, while you are visitors and pilgrims to keep yourselves free from the selfish passions that attack the soul. Always behave honourably among pagans so that they can see your good works for themselves and, when the day of reckoning comes, give thanks to God for the things which now make them denounce you as criminals.
____________________

Mark 10:46-52

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (that is, the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and to say, “Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.” And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man. “Courage,” they said “get up; he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus. Then Jesus spoke, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Rabbuni,” the blind man said to him, “Master, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has saved you.” And immediately his sight returned and he followed him along the road.
____________________

“Master, let me see again.”

In physics, every force has a resistance. In literature, every story has a crisis and resolution. In the circle of life, every prey has a predator to keep the ecology balanced. Somehow, in patterns around us, it seems that resistance to an action is not only always present, it appears almost necessary!

None of us have come this far in life without meeting with resistance, whether it stems from disagreements or disapprovals. So it was for the blind man who desperately wanted to meet Jesus. There were people who were simply irritated by his shouts, and others who disapproved of this man whom God was punishing. “This man must have sinned because God made him blind,” they thought. Crowds rejected Jesus and Peter, while many others who preached what was good and holy were called criminals.

Instead of trying to appease the naysayer, the blind man did one crucial thing that led to his successful encounter with Jesus: he accepted the existence of resistance without resentment or self-pity. He could have started to curse in anger when people tried to shut him up, but then he would have missed the chance to call out to Jesus. He could have silently nursed self-pity as the hordes insulted him on top of his disability, but then he would have missed out on the miracle. He could have stuck his tongue out at the crowd after Jesus gave him sight, but then he would have made himself blind to the kindness Jesus stood for.

Let us draw endurance from Jesus the living stone, who provides a strong foundation we can count on to weather the hot furnace in which gold is purified.

(Today’s reflection by Melissa Chia)
____________________

Prayer: God, create in me a clean heart, renew within me a resolute spirit (Psalm 51:10)

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for the Spirit of Peace who guides us to acceptance.
____________________

Upcoming readings:
30 May, Fri – Deuteronomy 7:6-11 ; 1 John 4:7-16 ; Matthew 11:25-30 ; Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
31 May, Sat – Zephaniah 3:14-18 ; Luke 1:39-56; Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
01 Jun, Sun – Deuteronomy 11:18,26-28,32; Romans 3:21-25,28; Matthew 7:21-27; Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
____________________
To subscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
To unsubscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
____________________

Wednesday, 28 May – Ladders to the Top

28 May – Eight Week in Ordinary Time: Wednesday
____________________

1 Peter 1:18-25

Remember, the ransom that was paid to free you from the useless way of life your ancestors handed down was not paid in anything corruptible, neither in silver nor gold, but in the precious blood of a lamb without spot or stain, namely Christ; who, though known since before the world was made, has been revealed only in our time, the end of ages, for your sake. Through him you now have faith in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory for that very reason – so that you would have faith and hope in God.

You have been obedient to the truth and purified your souls until you can love like brothers, in sincerity; let your love for each other be real and from the heart – your new birth was not from any mortal seed but from the everlasting word of the living and eternal God. All flesh is grass and its glory like the wild flower’s. The grass withers, the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains for ever. What is this word? It is the Good News that has been brought to you.
____________________

Mark 10:32-45

The disciples were on the road, going up to Jerusalem ; Jesus was walking on ahead of them; they were in a daze, and those who followed were apprehensive. Once more taking the Twelve aside he began to tell them what was going to happen to him: “Now we are going up to Jerusalem , and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans, who will mock him and spit at him and scourge him and put him to death; and after three days he will rise again.”

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him. “Master,” they said to him, “we want you to do us a favour.” He said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.” “You do not know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptized with the baptism with which I must be baptized?” They replied, “We can.” Jesus said to them, “The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptized you shall be baptized, but as for my seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.”

When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that among the pagans their so-called rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
____________________

The ransom that was paid to free you… was not paid in anything corruptible

If you were asked to imagine yourself climbing up a ‘corporate ladder’, how would you picture this ladder? Naturally, many would immediately think of a fireman’s ladder, or one which a handyman uses, where there is only enough space for one person to stand. What a fix, since the world of work does not only involve one person – no matter which line we are in – but countless others! Does scaling up this ladder mean there will be endless shoving, climbing over and pushing down of others so that we can progress?

All of us are called to growth, and we might find ourselves in a dilemma if progress is equated to climbing up that narrow ladder. Perhaps this is why Jesus enjoyed calling fishermen to follow him. They understood the function of the net, which catches schools of fish, unlike the sole fisherman who uses a single rod. Above all, they understood what it meant to be the labourers for others, working to provide to a mass market in a job that was rather thankless.

As Jesus advised his disciples about service, we are being called to expand our perception to a broader ladder, one which accommodates everyone who wishes to ascend to a Godly view, and not just an object which holds a single man. It is a ladder wide enough to hold all of God’s pilgrims, filled with people who find joy and strength to climb as they help those who are lagging nearby. Scaling a narrow fireman’s ladder might bring us temporary happiness through prestige and a larger income, but the lasting, deep-set joy is found in reaching out to others on the journey.

(Today’s reflection by Melissa Chia)
____________________

Prayer: We pray for those who have found themselves on an unfulfilling ladder, and are struggling to find a fruitful one. Amen.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for the pilgrims who have touched us and encouraged us along the way.
____________________

Upcoming readings:
29 May, Thu – 1 Peter 2:2-5,9-12; Mark 10:46-52
30 May, Fri – Deuteronomy 7:6-11 ; 1 John 4:7-16 ; Matthew 11:25-30 ; Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
31 May, Sat – Zephaniah 3:14-18 ; Luke 1:39-56; Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
01 Jun, Sun – Deuteronomy 11:18,26-28,32; Romans 3:21-25,28; Matthew 7:21-27; Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
____________________
To subscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
To unsubscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
____________________

Tuesday, 27 May – Letting Go is a Choice

26 May – Eight Week in Ordinary Time: Tuesday
____________________

1 Peter 1:10-16

It was this salvation that the prophets were looking and searching so hard for; their prophecies were about the grace which was to come to you. The Spirit of Christ which was in them foretold the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would come after them, and they tried to find out at what time and in what circumstances all this was to be expected. It was revealed to them that the news they brought of all the things which have now been announced to you, by those who preached to you the Good News through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, was for you and not for themselves. Even the angels long to catch a glimpse of these things.

Free your minds, then, of encumbrances; control them and put your trust in nothing but the grace that will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Do not behave in the way that you liked to before you learnt the truth; make a habit of obedience: be holy in all you do, since it is the Holy One who has called you, and scripture says: Be holy, for I am holy.
____________________

Mark 10:28-31

“What about us?” Peter asked Jesus. “We have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “I tell you solemnly, there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, father, children or land for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not be repaid a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land – not without persecution – now in this present time and, in the world to come, eternal life.

“Many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
____________________

Put your trust in nothing but the grace

Were you often told by your parents, guardians or mission-school teachers that “God only helps those who help themselves”? The refrain is a familiar one for me, and cropped up a lot especially nearing examinations and assessments in school. That’s one reason why I stopped hearing any meaning beyond “Study hard for your test” whenever that phrase is mentioned now.

However, a line from St. Peter’s letter made me reflect on a different meaning that advice could take on. Before God can fill me up with all His wonderful gifts, I have to throw out all the extra baggage to make space, so to speak. The encumbrances, or heavy burdens, have to be given up before a fresh perspective, a loving attitude, or a lasting peace can attend to our spirits. As Peter mentioned, this takes some ‘control’, a conscious decision on our part, before we can be called faithful, holy.

This letting go is not easy, as many of us would have realized. Forgiving someone who has hurt us, understanding and discontinuing our addictions, or acknowledging our regrets; all these require self-will and grace. Let us not forget the promises of Jesus, since if we let go and give up what is holding us back from growing in Christ, He is ready and waiting to give us more than we can even imagine, a hundred times over.

(Today’s reflection by Melissa Chia)
____________________

Prayer: We pray will be able to let go, so that we will be fertile ground for the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for people in our lives who teach us to exercise control, including those who hurt or anger us.
____________________

Upcoming readings:
28 May, Wed – 1 Peter 1:18-25; Mark 10:32-45
29 May, Thu – 1 Peter 2:2-5,9-12; Mark 10:46-52
30 May, Fri – Deuteronomy 7:6-11 ; 1 John 4:7-16 ; Matthew 11:25-30 ; Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
31 May, Sat – Zephaniah 3:14-18 ; Luke 1:39-56; Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
01 Jun, Sun – Deuteronomy 11:18,26-28,32; Romans 3:21-25,28; Matthew 7:21-27; Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
____________________
To subscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
To unsubscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
____________________

Monday, 26 May – No Courage without Fear

26 May – Eight Week in Ordinary Time: Monday; Memorial of Philip Neri

Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do.  There can be no courage unless you’re scared.

~Edward Vernon Rickenbacker
____________________

1 Peter 1:3-9

Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy has given us a new birth as his sons, by raising Jesus Christ from the dead, so that we have a sure hope and the promise of an inheritance that can never be spoilt or soiled and never fade away, because it is being kept for you in the heavens. Through your faith, God’s power will guard you until the salvation which has been prepared is revealed at the end of time. This is a cause of great joy for you, even though you may for a short time have to bear being plagued by all sorts of trials; so that, when Jesus Christ is revealed, your faith will have been tested and proved like gold – only it is more precious than gold, which is corruptible even though it bears testing by fire – and then you will have praise and glory and honour. You did not see him, yet you love him; and still without seeing him, you are already filled with a joy so glorious that it cannot be described, because you believe; and you are sure of the end to which your faith looks forward, that is, the salvation of your souls.
____________________

Mark 10:17-27

Jesus was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, “Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You must not kill; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must not bring false witness; You must not defraud; Honour your father and mother.” And he said to him, “Master, I have kept all these from my earliest days.” Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, “There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.
____________________

Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him

Ever since I first read how the encounter in today’s gospel would end – Jesus’ answer and the man’s eventual decision to walk away – I have always been filled with a slight dread just before reading the part where the disciple turns away, sad. It seemed like a mournful encounter with Jesus, if there was one; the same feeling I get after watching a romantic film ending one of the lovers dying of illness or unrequited love, or after the child padawans (apprentices of the Jedi i.e. the good guys) were needlessly massacred in Star Wars.

The dread is caused by my identification with the questioning and searching man. He was a disciple anxious to be a better follower, at times wanting to impress Christ by asking witty questions or saying elaborate prayers, at times proud that he had managed to keep to the commandments from his ‘earliest days’, at times fearful of what more God wanted of him. Reading about his encounter with Jesus invokes a fear that I will not have enough strength to say yes to His will, just as he did not.

But I also see Jesus’ continuous loving gaze despite knowing this disciple’s future rejection.

Though we do not know what happened to this disciple, we know of another who betrayed Jesus, and by the Lord’s love was later redeemed because that love gave him enough strength to say “Yes!” a second time round. Thus, Peter speaks from experience when he says in the first reading that our trials in this life, including the possibility and fear of failing God, have a reason. One cannot say he has courage until he has known fear, and overcomes it. Trials can be the raw material with which He moulds us, if we let him. Jesus’ love transformed a fearful man with little status in society (a fisherman) to a strong advocator who wrote many letters of encouragement to others. If we look at these trials as steps towards growth, instead of stumbling blocks, faith and hope will be transformed into the strength to follow Christ.

(Today’s reflection by Melissa Chia)
____________________

Prayer: We pray for hearts that will depend on God’s love for us, especially in fearful situations. Amen.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for an amazing, unending, unconditional love that no one else can give!
____________________

Upcoming readings:
27 May, Tue – 1 Peter 1:10-16; Mark 10:28-31
28 May, Wed – 1 Peter 1:18-25; Mark 10:32-45
29 May, Thu – 1 Peter 2:2-5,9-12; Mark 10:46-52
30 May, Fri – Deuteronomy 7:6-11 ; 1 John 4:7-16 ; Matthew 11:25-30 ; Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
31 May, Sat – Zephaniah 3:14-18 ; Luke 1:39-56; Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
01 Jun, Sun – Deuteronomy 11:18,26-28,32; Romans 3:21-25,28; Matthew 7:21-27; Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
____________________
To subscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
To unsubscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
____________________

Sunday, 25 May – Transformation of the Gift

Cutting the Red Tape

A group of churches and social service organizations have formed the Boston Food Bank. The bank collects thousands of tons of food every year, donated by several large food producers in New England. Then bank then distributes the food to the poor and homeless in the Boston area.

But the food bank has had a particular problem making connections with one company, the largest processor of fish sticks in the country. The director of the food bank explains: “We estimate they throw away over a million pounds of fish each year that could be turned back to the community.” While local executives seem to support the idea of donating the unused food, “the problem is with the accounting department.”

That’s right, says the accounting department. The company says it would cost $400,000 to process the leftovers into plain fish cakes. And because it doesn’t know how to make fish cakes, it can’t estimate the fair market value of the giveaways for tax deduction purposes. So, until the accounting department can figure it all out, the company will continue to throw the leftover fish away.

Do we let laws and the bottom line get in the way of helping others?

(from “Stories for all Seasons” by Gerard Fuller, O.M.I.)
____________________

25 May – Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

Life’s own Champion, slain, yet lives to reign

(Taken from the sequence recited on this solemnity)
____________________

Deuteronomy 8:2-3. 14-16

Moses said to the people: “Remember how the Lord your God led you for forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, to test you and know your inmost heart – whether you would keep his commandments or not. He humbled you, he made you feel hunger, he fed you with manna which neither you nor your fathers had known, to make you understand that man does not live on bread alone but that man lives on everything that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

“Do not then forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery: who guided you through this vast and dreadful wilderness, a land of fiery serpents, scorpions, thirst; who in this waterless place brought you water from the hardest rock; who in this wilderness fed you with manna that your fathers had not known.”
____________________

1 Corinthians 10:16-17

The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break is a communion with the body of Christ. The fact that there is only one loaf means that, though there are many of us, we form a single body because we all have a share in this one loaf.
____________________

John 6:51-58

Jesus said to the Jews: “I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.”

Then the Jews started arguing with one another: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they said. Jesus replied: “I tell you most solemnly, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you. Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him. As I, who am sent by the living Father, myself draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will draw life from me. This is the bread come down from heaven; not like the bread our ancestors ate: they are dead, but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.”
____________________

He fed you with manna which neither you nor your fathers had known

Most of us were taught that things can be placed into neat categories. Living and non-living, mammals and non-mammals, two-legged and four-legged, hardcover and soft-cover; these groupings help us identify objects and creatures around us. Perhaps such lessons lead us to think about people in terms of classifications too: tall and short, big-footed and tiny feet, beautiful and ugly. So what are we to make of a man who has died but still lives, and tells us we too will live forever if we have the real food and the real drink? That seems to go beyond the realm of what we can classify.

A statement made in the first reading and repeated in the gospel give us a hint to how we can perceive the Body and Blood. Moses told the people that God was going to give ‘manna that your fathers had not known’, and Jesus said he wanted to give the bread unlike what ‘our ancestors ate’. Each time, God came up with a unique recipe and made bread for exactly what his people needed. That is how innovative God is. It seems he wants to give in new ways to provide for what we need and want, even beyond what we know or dream of.

Each time we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we take in what is unchanged and what is changed, a man who died but now lives. If we want to, we can receive the Body which resembles the bread which generations have known, and, at the same time, the Body that is exactly what we need at that moment. Strength, wisdom, comfort, peace, love, patience – the Body we receive is all of those (and more), yet is unlike what we know previously, because our needs are constantly changing. If we trust more and more to say, “I will receive the best from Him” at each Mass/Meal, we shall not die of thirst no matter what waterless place we are in.

(Today’s reflection by Melissa Chia)
____________________

Prayer: We pray that does who do not yet believe may come to know the hope found in your Body and Blood. Amen.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for the mysteries of the Eucharist that inspires us to know Jesus more.
____________________

Upcoming readings:
26 May, Mon – 1 Peter 1:3-9; Mark 10:17-27
27 May, Tue – 1 Peter 1:10-16; Mark 10:28-31
28 May, Wed – 1 Peter 1:18-25; Mark 10:32-45
29 May, Thu – 1 Peter 2:2-5,9-12; Mark 10:46-52
30 May, Fri – Deuteronomy 7:6-11 ; 1 John 4:7-16 ; Matthew 11:25-30 ; Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
31 May, Sat – Zephaniah 3:14-18 ; Luke 1:39-56; Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
01 Jun, Sun – Deuteronomy 11:18,26-28,32; Romans 3:21-25,28; Matthew 7:21-27; Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
____________________
To subscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
To unsubscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
____________________

Saturday, 24 May – Through the Eyes of a Child

24 May – Seventh Week of Ordinary Time: Saturday
____________________

James 5:13-20

If any of you is in trouble, he should pray; if anyone is feeling happy, he should sing a psalm. If one of you is ill, he should send for the elders of the church, and they must anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him. The prayer of faith will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. So confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, and this will cure you; the heartfelt prayer of a good man works very powerfully. Elijah was a human being like ourselves – he prayed hard for it not to rain, and no rain fell for three-and-a-half years; then he prayed again and the sky gave rain and the earth gave crops.

My brothers, if one of your strays away from the truth, and another brings him back to it, he may be sure that anyone who can bring back a sinner from the wrong way that he has taken will be saving a soul from death and covering up a great number of sins.
____________________

Mark 10:13-16

People were bringing little children to Jesus, for him to touch them. The disciples turned them away, but when Jesus saw this he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ Then he put his arms round them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing.
____________________

The heartfelt prayer of a good man works very powerfully

“Kids say the darnedest things”. There’s a very cliché phrase but one that is steeped in truth. My mom and I were getting a lift from my godmother who happened to have her granddaughter with her. I was not having a good day but I kept it to myself. Then came the question that brought a smile to all our faces. The little girl asked my mom why I was moody and if I was ill. Two adults who either did not notice or did not want to ask but one child who did both. Isn’t that the darnedest thing?

Christ reveals the special status that children have in the kingdom of God . Just how special are they? He was actually indignant that the disciples tried to keep them away. Children have an innocence, a sense of wonder, a propensity for truth that all gets somehow diminished in adults. Yet all those things are needed for a person to truly be in touch with God.

Another saying is “the prayers of children are very powerful”. It is no coincidence that this parallels the words of James. Children are the quintessential “good man” in St James’ letter. They are true to themselves and express that truth openly. The power behind the prayers of good men is their ability to recognise the key issues and seek help from God in addressing them.

My brothers and sisters, our lives may proceed at a frantic pace. Even so, there is no reason we cannot cultivate those childlike qualities that draw good men close to God. There is, after all, a difference between childlike and childish. Children bring joy to the lives of their parents, those who care for them and even strangers. Let us also bring joy to God who cares for us, our loved ones and those around us.

(Today’s reflection by Aloysius Ting)
____________________

Prayer: We pray for a childlike faith, that we may be drawn close to God, to notice the things that an adult and mature faith may sometimes miss. Amen.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for the little things in life that mean the most to us.
____________________

Upcoming readings:
25 May, Sun – Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16; 1 Corinthians 13: 16-17; John 6:51-58; Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
____________________
To subscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
To unsubscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
____________________

Friday, 23 May – Letting go and Letting God

23 May – Seventh Week of Ordinary Time: Friday
____________________

James 5:9-12

Do not make complaints against one another, brothers, so as not to be brought to judgement yourselves; the Judge is already to be seen waiting at the gates. For your example, brothers, in submitting with patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord; remember it is those who had endurance that we say are the blessed ones. You have heard of the patience of Job, and understand the Lord’s purpose, realising that the Lord is kind and compassionate.

Above all, my brothers, do not swear by heaven or by the earth, or use any oaths at all. if you mean ‘yes’, you must say ‘yes’; if you mean ‘no’, say ‘no’. Otherwise you make yourselves liable to judgement.
____________________

Mark 10:1-12

Jesus came to the district of Judaea and the far side of the Jordan. And again crowds gathered round him, and again he taught them, as his custom was. Some Pharisees approached him and asked, ‘Is it against the law for a man to divorce his wife?’ They were testing him. He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ ‘Moses allowed us’ they said ‘to draw up a writ of dismissal and so to divorce.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘It was because you were so unteachable that he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. This is why a man must leave father and mother, and the two become one body. They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what god has united, man must not divide.’ Back in the house the disciples questioned him again about this , and he said to them, ‘The man who divorces his wife and marries another is guilty of adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another she is guilty of adultery too.’
____________________

What God has united, man must not divide

I oversleep quite a bit sometimes. Not because I did not set my alarm. I either hear it but choose to keep hitting the snooze button till it completely deactivated or am so tired that I sleep through it entirely. Both these scenarios illustrate the result of trying to resist something important. The former the need to wake up when I was supposed to; the latter my body’s need for more rest and trying to rise earlier. The consequences are a headache and being sleepy the rest of the day or being late for engagements or both.

Our readings for today discuss the people’s attitudes towards prayer and law. What both groups have in common is their impatience and their want for quick and easy solutions that go their own way. But as Christ and James spell out to them, things are not that simple.

Laws and precedents exist for reasons; above all of these is the commandment that Christ has given us. “Love one another as I have has loved you”. With these words come the need for us to be willing to defer to the wisdom of God instead of relying on ours; to submit to the authority of God instead of instilling our own.

The thing is that overcoming those obstacles to getting up early is actually pretty easy. All that is needed is to ensure we can do so, by getting a good night’s rest or being disciplined with the alarm. Likewise, the secret to facing the challenges in our faith journeys is to heed the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives. My sisters and brothers, let us not resist Him but turn to Him in patient prayer.

(Today’s reflection by Aloysius Ting)
____________________

Prayer: We pray for the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for giving us guidelines to live by and milestones to achieve.
____________________

Upcoming readings:
24 May, Sat – James 5:13-20; Mark 10:13-16
25 May, Sun – Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16; 1 Corinthians 13: 16-17; John 6:51-58; Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
____________________
To subscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
To unsubscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
____________________

Thursday, 22 May – Whole in Spirit

22 May – Seventh Week of Ordinary Time: Thursday
____________________

James 5:1-6

The answer for the rich: start crying, weep for the miseries that are coming to you. Your wealth is all rotting, your clothes are all eaten up by moths. All your gold and your silver are corroding away, and all the same corrosion will be your own sentence, and eat into your body. It was a burning fire that you stored up as your treasure for the last days. Labourers mowed your fields, and you cheated them – listen to the wages that you kept back, calling out; realise that the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hows. On earth you have had a life of comfort and luxury; in the time of slaughter you went on eating to your heart’s content. It was you who condemned the innocent and killed them; they offered you no resistance.
____________________

Mark 9:41-50

Jesus said to the disciples: ‘If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.

‘But anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of the little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck. And if your hand should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than to have two hands and go to hell, into the fire that cannot be put out. And if your foot should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if you eye should cause you to sin, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell where their worm does not die nor their fire go out. For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is a good thing, but if salt has become insipid, how can you season it again? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.
____________________

It is better for you to enter into life crippled

For about a year and a half I was inseparable from my mobile phone headset. It kept me entertained on long bus rides and during experiments where I was by myself. It even let me win quite a few prizes from radio call-in contests. Then came the day the headset could not be recognized by the phone. But with that came the realization that the perks came with drawbacks too. The headset sometimes got in the way of my laboratory coat, I was draining my battery every day-and-a-half and I was becoming increasingly distracted with listening out for contest clues and cues. So it was good experience losing and getting by without the set up that I had become so used to.

Christ’s and James’ words today speak about the dangers of self-centredness. In his letter, James admonishes the wealthy for the self-serving attitudes which led to the suffering of their less well-to-do fellows. Likewise, Jesus warns the disciples against their very selves; against things which they can and should control instead of being controlled by. The wealth, the hands and feet and eyes Christ and James mention are not at all evil things. But they can be used for evil instead of good if the person behind them loses control.

There are many conveniences in our lives. Television, Internet, cars, clothes and money are all things that can serve to better us and those around us. However, it is not all that hard to lose ourselves in them. With all of these things there is a need to maintain a balance between the pros and cons. My brothers and sisters, let us discern if there is anything in our lives that may be starting to rein us in, pray for the strength to rein them back in.

(Today’s reflection by Aloysius Ting)
____________________

Prayer: We pray for the strength to let go of things when we need to, and for the courage to admit when there are possessions which are starting to possess us. Amen.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for salt without which we would not be healthy.
____________________

Upcoming readings:
23 May, Fri – James 5:9-12; Mark 10:1-12
24 May, Sat – James 5:13-20; Mark 10:13-16
25 May, Sun – Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16; 1 Corinthians 13: 16-17; John 6:51-58; Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
____________________
To subscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
To unsubscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
Godismyoxygen-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
____________________