Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We give thanks to God for your steadfast following of Oxygen.
As we enter into the Paschal Mystery of the Church, we invite our readers who want to help contribute a reflection to come forward.
The following readings are available for reflection:
1st Reading + Responsorial Psalm
2nd Reading + Responsorial Psalm
3rd Reading + Responsorial Psalm
4th Reading + Responsorial Psalm
5th Reading + Responsorial Psalm
6th Reading + Responsorial Psalm
7th Reading + Responsorial Psalm
Epistle + Responsorial Psalm
This is a good time for you to share with our readers the joys you have had in reading Oxygen. Do drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org who will be in touch with you on how to proceed.
Oxygen Core Team
These were my orders: Listen to my voice, then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Follow right to the end the way that I mark out for you, and you will prosper. But they did not listen, they did not pay attention; they followed the dictates of their own evil hearts, refused to face me, and turned their backs on me. From the day your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until today, day after day I have persistently sent you all my servants the prophets.
But they have not listened to me, have not paid attention; they have grown stubborn and behaved worse than their ancestors. You may say all these words to them: they will not listen to you; you may call them: they will not answer. So tell them this, “Here is the nation that will not listen to the voice of the Lord its God nor take correction. Sincerity is no more, it has vanished from their mouths.”
Jesus was casting out a devil and it was dumb; but when the devil had gone out the dumb man spoke, and the people were amazed. But some of them said, ‘It is through Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that he casts out devils.’ Others asked him, as a test, for a sign from heaven; but, knowing what they were thinking, he said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin, and a household divided against itself collapses. So too with Satan: if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? – Since you assert that it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils. Now if it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils, through whom do your own experts cast them out? Let them be your judges then. But if it is through the finger of God that I cast out devils, then know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you. So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own palace, his goods are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than he is attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil.
‘He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.’
“I will be your God, and you shall be my people”
I have often wondered what it would have been like living as a Jew at the time of the great Exodus. In my mind’s eye, I imagine the great plagues in Egypt, seeing the waters of the River Nile turn into blood, or personally witnessing the plague of locusts as they swarmed the land. Even more powerfully, seeing the blood of the sacrificial lambs painted above the front doors of the Jews, and consequently, the deaths of the first-born among the Egyptians. I see myself scrambling to leave Egypt and walking in between the walls of sea water as they are parted.
It would have been amazing and would have cemented my belief and trust in God for His deliverance.
It is difficult for me, therefore, to understand how the early Jews chose to turn their backs on our Father God and trust, instead, on other ‘gods’ such as Baal. How does one even do that after witnessing these miraculous events where God repeatedly shows His faithfulness and His might?
I guess a big part of it is how open we are to witnessing God’s works. No matter how much He does around us and for us, we will continue to fail to recognise the impact God has on us and our lives if we choose to be closed to Him. Because of our closed, hardened hearts and minds, we would continue to question and discount Him.
In fact, the Gospel and readings today show God our Father, and our Lord Jesus, admonishing the people for having hardened hearts. Without removing this ‘hardness’, we would never be able to develop a true relationship with our God.
Lent is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with God. Through fasting, penance and the giving of alms, we gradually strip ourselves of our hardness and indifference. Coupled with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we gradually become one with God.
(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)
Prayer: Lord, we pray that we may be able to cast aside our indifference and learn to always turn to You. Teach us to trust in You totally and to depend on You.
Thanksgiving: Father God, thank You for correcting us, for teaching and guiding us.