Thank you for journeying with us all this while. The liturgical year is coming to an end, and the OXYGEN team would like to invite interested writers to contribute a reflection or two for the Christmas mass readings at the end of this year. If you feel called to put the sharing of your faith into writing, please do drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
The OXYGEN team
Listen, kings, and understand;
rulers of remotest lands, take warning;
hear this, you who have thousands under your rule,
who boast of your hordes of subjects.
For power is a gift to you from the Lord,
sovereignty is from the Most High;
he himself will probe your acts and scrutinise your intentions.
If, as administrators of his kingdom, you have not governed justly
nor observed the law,
nor behaved as God would have you behave,
he will fall on you swiftly and terribly.
Ruthless judgement is reserved for the high and mighty;
the lowly will be compassionately pardoned,
the mighty will be mightily punished.
For the Lord of All does not cower before a personage,
he does not stand in awe of greatness,
since he himself has made small and great
and provides for all alike;
but strict scrutiny awaits those in power.
Yes, despots, my words are for you,
that you may learn what wisdom is and not transgress;
for they who observe holy things holily will be adjudged holy,
and, accepting instruction from them, will find their defence in them.
Look forward, therefore, to my words;
yearn for them, and they will instruct you.
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered one of the villages, ten lepers came to meet him. They stood some way off and called to him, ‘Jesus! Master! Take pity on us.’ When he saw them he said, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ Now as they were going away they were cleansed. Finding himself cured, one of them turned back praising God at the top of his voice and threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. This made Jesus say, ‘Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they? It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.’ And he said to the man, ‘Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.’
Were not all ten healed? Where are the other nine?
I have been trying to buy a food processor. I’ve never had one before so this whole process is new to me. There are reams of consumer reviews on the topic; reading every single one though, can boggle the mind. One thing has been consistent – how important after-sales customer service is. Whether it is to replace broken parts, to claim against a warranty or when you just can’t figure out why the product is not behaving as expected, good after-sales customer service ‘completes’ a product. I almost pulled the trigger on a top of the line Vitamix Series 750, but stopped myself after reading about a consumer’s experience with a rude customer service person. Most manufacturers just want to print your sale, and at US$700 a pop, they’d want to print as many Vitamixes as possible. The brands that stand out though, are the ones whose customer service guys care enough to help you have the fullest experience of their product possible. Talking to a good customer service guy is a great way of finding out about the culture of the manufacturer. Some customer service guys think it is your obligation to purchase their stuff because hey, their stuff is cool and they have the price tag to show for it! Others try to help, but if it’s not their job, you can hear them tuning out as they transfer you to ‘someone who can help’. The ones who truly hit the ball out of the park? They’re the ones who themselves are genuinely passionate about what they’re selling, who are absolutely determined to remedy the situation, to restore your opinion of the brand, even if they have to go to extra lengths to do so. Very few fall into that last category. It takes a particular kind of personality to be as motivated as that. And it takes a particular kind of company culture to instill that kind of enthusiasm.
So what do customer service guys and today’s gospel reading have in common? Attitude! In the same way that a rude customer service person can dent our view of a product, an ungrateful Christian dents people’s opinions of our faith. More than that, an ungrateful Christian hurts Christ’s apostolic mission. How many of us have been taken aback when in the church parking lot, we are hooted at for being too slow backing out of a spot? Or when people don’t say thank you when we give up our seat during a crowded mass? We’re incredulous! Our first instinct is to mutter to ourselves in disbelief, ‘Seriously?! You call yourself a Christian?!’ Such was Jesus’ reaction to the nine lepers in today’s gospel – incredulity! Imagine his irritation, “Were not all ten healed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this alien?” (Luke 17:17)
Our faith brands us a Christian but we are not complete if we are not moved to walk as if inspired by love. Healing that does not bring a person to Jesus is incomplete. We have to live the way, not just talk about it, or confess it. “Be doers of the Word, and not just hearers, lest you deceive yourselves. The hearer who does not become a doer is like that one who looked himself in the mirror. He looked and then promptly forgot what he was like. But those who fix their gaze on the perfect law of freedom and hold on to it, not listening and then forgetting, but acting on it, will find blessing on their deeds” (James 1:22-25). We want to be that gold star customer service person – the one who is so enthusiastic, whose belief in his product is so strong, that you can’t help but be uplifted and inspired! You can’t help but keep coming back for more!
(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: God, make me that gold star ‘customer service’ person when I do your work. Give me enthusiasm, gratefulness and tirelessness that I might be an inspiration to others for you.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to all those who have inspired us to do His work with their tireless enthusiasm and cheerfulness.