11 September 2017
It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church. I became the servant of the Church when God made me responsible for delivering God’s message to you, the message which was a mystery hidden for generations and centuries and has now been revealed to his saints. It was God’s purpose to reveal it to them and to show all the rich glory of this mystery to pagans. The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory: this is the Christ we proclaim, this is the wisdom in which we thoroughly train everyone and instruct everyone, to make them all perfect in Christ. It is for this I struggle wearily on, helped only by his power driving me irresistibly.
Yes, I want you to know that I do have to struggle hard for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for so many others who have never seen me face to face. It is all to bind you together in love and to stir your minds, so that your understanding may come to full development, until you really know God’s secret in which all the jewels of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.
On the sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching him to see if he would cure a man on the sabbath, hoping to find something to use against him. But he knew their thoughts; and he said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Stand up! Come out into the middle.’ And he came out and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, ‘I put it to you: is it against the law on the sabbath to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to destroy it?’ Then he looked round at them all and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He did so, and his hand was better. But they were furious, and began to discuss the best way of dealing with Jesus.
This is the Christ we proclaim
The US dollar has the phrase “In God we Trust” and I always found it strange that money and God can be close associates with each other. Both of them represent two different views – money represents the most material side of humans whilst the phrase reminds us that it is not money but God whom we should put all our trust in. This is the message of the readings of today. They remind us of the importance to entrust all our lives to God; both the happiness and the sorrows.
St Paul willingly bore all the sufferings which arose from the mission to proclaim Christ to all around Him because he trusted that Jesus Christ will take good care of him. St Paul went through tremendous hardship of being shipwrecked, flogged and stoned to death in his desire to spread the belief in Christ to all whom he met. Was he foolish to do so? Perhaps from the eyes of the world but he was willing to do all he could for God just so that the message of the Good News could be spread.
Jesus was also determined to bring the message of love to all around him and he cared not for human opinion. In the Gospel of today, He shows us that He would rather cure the man with the withered hand on the sabbath instead of following the law.
This is indeed what we are called to do in our lives. In our daily encounters with the people whom we meet, we must always realise that they are observing us to see how we respond to the situations which life puts before us. If we can respond in love, that will certainly distinguish us from the others who do not profess the Christian Faith. As we begin the week, let us remind ourselves of the purpose of our lives and how we can use it to glorify God’s name.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, let us remember that you have called us to love you and in return to show that love to all who meet us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to God for all who have forgiven their enemies.