28 February – 3rd Sunday of Lent
Dear Readers, as OXYGEN tradition holds, we have our Lenten Call for Volunteer Contributors to share their reflections on Holy Saturday for the Easter Vigil (26 March) readings. On this day, there is a beautiful Liturgy of the Word where 7 different Readings from the Old Testament Scriptures are accompanied by a Responsarial Psalm. We encourage our readers to send in reflections based on each reading.
Some of you may feel a little spark of fire and desire to share what God has done for you or shown you this Lent. We hope and pray that the Holy Spirit’s nudge may inspire you to action. Write to us: oxygen[at]thecatholicwriter.com before 10 March and we will get in touch with you for one of the 9 readings for Easter Vigil Mass (these would be simple as each reflection is based on one reading).
Moses was looking after the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law priest of Midian. He led his flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the shape of a flame of fire, coming from the middle of a bush. Moses looked; there was the bush blazing but it was not being burnt up. ‘I must go and look at this strange sight,’ Moses said, ‘and see why the bush is not burnt.’ Now the Lord saw him go forward to look, and God called to him from the middle of the bush. ‘Moses, Moses!’ he said. ‘Here I am,’ Moses answered. ‘Come no nearer,’ he said. ‘Take off your shoes, for the place on which you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your fathers,’ he said, ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ At this Moses covered his face, afraid to look at God.
And the Lord said, ‘I have seen the miserable state of my people in Egypt. I have heard their appeal to be free of their slave-drivers. Yes, I am well aware of their sufferings. I mean to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians and bring them up out of that land to a land rich and broad, a land where milk and honey flow, the home of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites.’
Then Moses said to God, ‘I am to go, then, to the sons of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you.” But if they ask me what his name is, what am I to tell them?’ And God said to Moses, ‘I Am who I Am. This’ he added ‘is what you must say to the sons of Israel: “I Am has sent me to you.”’ And God also said to Moses, ‘You are to say to the sons of Israel: “The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is my name for all time; by this name I shall be invoked for all generations to come.’
1 Corinthians 10:1-6,10-12
I want to remind you, brothers, how our fathers were all guided by a cloud above them and how they all passed through the sea. They were all baptised into Moses in this cloud and in this sea; all ate the same spiritual food and all drank the same spiritual drink, since they all drank from the spiritual rock that followed them as they went, and that rock was Christ. In spite of this, most of them failed to please God and their corpses littered the desert.
These things all happened as warnings for us, not to have the wicked lusts for forbidden things that they had. You must never complain: some of them did, and they were killed by the Destroyer.
All this happened to them as a warning, and it was written down to be a lesson for us who are living at the end of the age. The man who thinks he is safe must be careful that he does not fall.
Some people arrived and told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them, ‘Do you suppose these Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.’
He told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard, “Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”’
Give me time to dig round it
Good day my dear friends, I am feeling really great to be back and writing for Oxygen again after taking a break for more than a year. I have encountered new experiences both joyous and difficult times in love, faith and personal achievements in the past years. I truly hope to continue to build my faith with all of you and may our shared experiences be great testaments to others sharing the grace God has given us. I want to thank the Oxygen team for welcoming me back.
It is already the third week in the season of Lent. What have we achieved since Ash Wednesday? The festivities of the Lunar New Year should have subsided by now, and so how have we prepared ourselves for the Lord’s passion? I am sure most of us are looking forward to the long weekend of Good Friday to Easter Monday. However, is a holiday or road-trip during the long weekend what we Christians should be looking forward to? Or is it preparing ourselves in dying with our saviour Jesus and celebrate His resurrection the faith-trip we want to embark?
Today’s readings make me reflect around our Father’s love for His people and His generous moments of giving us, his children, chances. How often do we have someone stepping in to help us and gives us that one more chance to make things better? There will be moments in our lives where we have been given the second chance to make things right again. We will be so grateful for those moments and then we find that better solution in making things work out right again. But, there are times when we have to abandon the issues and situations because we have just made it all worse. The Church never fails to remind us of the sacrifices we all can try to make during this season of Lent, it is perhaps the small chances God has given us to reset ourselves for the new year ahead. The things in which we have done wrong, to make it right again. We stop to pray and seek that solution to mend broken relationships, to kick those bad habits, to build stronger relationships with those who needs us. Also, to not forgetting to set ourselves up to do God’s work everyday as a main mission of our lives.
I do feel that I am that rather fruitless fig tree, taking our Lord’s generosity for granted and always taking up the chances of His given time, for me to nurture myself in becoming the person He wants me to be. However, we should not forget that if we do miss those chances, there will be the time when we ‘shall perish’ and get ‘cut down’.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: O Lord, You have given us the time and the chance, may we have your graces to grow into a fruitful fig tree.
Thanksgiving: I thank you for all the right outcomes and patience that you blessed me with, and also the lessons learnt from disappointments and failures.