11 Dec – 2nd Week of Advent
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
‘To whom could you liken me
and who could be my equal?’ says the Holy One.
Lift your eyes and look.
Who made these stars
if not he who drills them like an army,
calling each one by name?
So mighty is his power, so great his strength,
that not one fails to answer.
How can you say, Jacob,
how can you insist, Israel,
‘My destiny is hidden from the Lord,
my rights are ignored by my God’?
Did you not know?
Had you not heard?
Jesus exclaimed, ‘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 heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’
But those who hope in the Lord renew their strength
I never imagined that I would one day be part of a Scripture-based ministry. Given my laughable track record of making some poorly-executed New Year’s resolutions to go through my Bible cover-to-cover for 365 days, it is amazing for me to look back on this almost two years of journeying with the team of lovely Oxygen writers. Believe it or not, some of us have never met each other before – as we live in different parts of the world!
Yet we feel so connected. What holds us together is our love for God and of delving deep into His Word. What keeps us steadfast to this ministry is the realisation that God’s Word is Truth; it is always alive, creative, and full of wisdom, for application to every bit of our lives. My initial response towards writing scripture reflections to share with the boundless digital space was much apprehension. “What if I understand the scripture and its meaning wrongly?” Or “I’ll sound really silly if I share my thoughts with people who surely know more than me! Or “If I end up feeling quite proud of my writings, then I’ll surely fall into the sin of pride!” But the most resounding worry was that I would not have the time, or stay committed to this work.
One million excuses finally gave way. I realised that I was solely responsible for taking my faith seriously. Sure, I’m no theologian, or Scripture-spewing encyclopedia. I didn’t know much about the Catechism of the Catholic Church (that’s one document I’m still going through!), and I used to be Bible-thumped on by very passionate fellow Christians back in University. Blah, blah, blah… “Lord, if it is you, bid me to come to you on the water” said Peter (Mt 14:28). I had to get out of the boat and trust that He would enable me in spite of all my perceived lack and limitations.
Some of us who write, struggle with our own journeys, and all of us fumble in our walk. Some of us write through our doubts and difficulties, and sometimes may even feel insecure about what we share. We juggle late worknights and stressful workdays, and life in general, with our weekly writing schedules. We go through seasons of darkness, and desert moments of faith. However, we are always amazed at how we’ve grown spiritually through each season of reflections. The one constant stronghold for us through this all – is the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit on whom we call upon, to humble us, inspire our reflections, and make us worthy instruments and a channel for God’s Word. Jesus assures us in today’s gospel reading “Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest…Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.” (Mt 11:28-30)
The first reading in Isaiah proclaims too, “they put out wings like eagles. They run and do not grow weary, walk and never tire.” (Is 40:31). As we are yoked with Jesus, we are lifted up and strengthened. We are partners and collaborators with the Lord in His work. It is the Lord who enables in big and small ways – we choose to avail our lives, talents, and time to His call. Mother Teresa, tireless in her mission work, says simply, “I’m like a little pencil in His hand. That’s all. He does the thinking. He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do. The pencil has only to be allowed to be used.” Behind all these words, is the love and compassion of God reaching out to all of us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Debbie Loo)
Thanksgiving: We give praise and thanks for the gifts and talents He bestows. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in the ways we can make His glory known!
Prayer: Jesus, we pray that you sustain our Oxygen ministry as it enters into yet another year. We thank you for the last twelve years.