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
That day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city;
to guard us he has set
wall and rampart about us.
Open the gates! Let the upright nation come in,
she, the faithful one
whose mind is steadfast, who keeps the peace,
because she trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord for ever,
for the Lord is the everlasting Rock;
he has brought low those who lived high up
in the steep citadel;
he brings it down, brings it down to the ground,
flings it down in the dust:
the feet of the lowly, the footsteps of the poor
trample on it.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. ‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’
Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
At the Christ@Work conference held recently, the keynote speaker emphasized the point that Christianity, at its core, is about encountering Christ. A friend then asked me how one can “get” this personal encounter. I shared that for me, those encounters came through active participation in retreats, seminars, workshops, camps, all of which present opportunities, big and small, for one to encounter Christ. A more direct way of encountering Christ would be through crises, but well, I suppose it should not be something that we ought to be praying for. I see them more as experiences necessary for personal growth, and growth in our relationships with others. Sometimes, in the absence of crises, life may appear to be going smoothly for us, but when we get those opportunities to really reflect, probe and examine ourselves on a deeper, more spiritual level, issues long-buried and forgotten may bubble to the surface, causing us to rethink certain aspects of ourselves.
I believe that personal encounters with Christ and developing a relationship with Him will go a long way in helping us build houses of rock rather than houses of sand, on top of building up one’s knowledge of the faith, and actively serving in the faith community. An even more practical, and necessary, approach would be to challenge ourselves daily to live the gospel in our lives. Although the work we do may sometimes appear merely transactional and lacking in significant impact on other people’s lives, the way the work is done, the relationships we have with our colleagues, superiors and subordinates all require us to live our Christian faith. In the words of St Therese, “we cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love”.
I will end this reflection with some words of wisdom from Pope Francis in a homily he gave recently to university students – “The fullness of the Christian life that God carries out in man, in fact, is always threatened by the temptation to succumb to the spirit of the world… If you don’t let yourselves be conditioned by prevailing opinions, but remain faithful to Christian ethical and religious principles, you will find the courage even to go against the current.” Indeed, this construction of a house of rock in Christ has to be an ongoing effort, especially in the midst of the current tide of moral relativism we are facing in today’s world.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Edith Koh)
Prayer: We pray for the discipline to build a strong foundation for our house of faith.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the efforts of everyone who acts on the words of God.