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:
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
The Lord says this:
They will search for me in their misery. ‘Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us; he has struck us down, but he will bandage our wounds; after a day or two he will bring us back to life, on the third day he will raise us and we shall live in his presence.
Let us set ourselves to know the Lord; that he will come is as certain as the dawn his judgement will rise like the light, he will come to us as showers come, like spring rains watering the earth.’
What am I to do with you, Ephraim?What am I to do with you, Judah? This love of yours is like a morning cloud, like the dew that quickly disappears.
This is why I have torn them to pieces by the prophets, why I slaughtered them with the words from my mouth, since what I want is love, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts.
Jesus spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being virtuous and despised everyone else: ‘Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, “I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.” The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he beat his breast and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” This man, I tell you, went home again at rights with God; the other did not. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted”
I recently decided to play a game and began counting the number of people who were looking at their smartphones one day. I knew that we, as a people, were into our technology, but was surprised when I counted at least 80%. Imagine that — at least 8 out of 10 people were staring into their phones!
What tickled me most was what happened one Christmas season. My wife and I had met with a good friend for dinner along Orchard Road. We thought it would be a great experience to take a walk after that to take in the sights.
What happened after that was surprising, funny and, if I am to be honest, sad.
We saw many people walking with their phones on video mode, smiling and laughing into their devices. Yet others were posing in front of the bright lights, choosing their best sides to be shown in their selfies or wefies.
What happened consistently was how after their photographs and videos were taken, the smiles and enthusiasm disappeared, as if all the previous gaiety was brought up specially for the world to see. In fact, when we scrutinise our social media accounts, we realise that we have a tendency of only wanting to show the world our best sides. We want to show the world how good we are, or what good we have done. We want the world to respect us, to love us.
In fact, when I was working in the corporate world, I was told, repeatedly, that I had to work harder to impress senior management with my abilities and that I had to ensure that I had projects that would bring my talents under the spotlight.
In the Gospel today, Jesus warns us that we should guard against such a tendency. The only difference is that instead of the ‘world’, we want to showcase our good sides to God. We want God to love us for the good that we do and we try to earn our ways to heaven. There simply is no reason to do this; our place in heaven has been given to us, by Grace. We cannot, and need not, ‘earn’ this.
(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)
Prayer: Father God, we pray that we will learn what it means to love God by loving our neighbours. Help us to resist the temptation to keep our faith in our minds, and to live it everyday.
Thanksgiving: We thank you for showing us how to manifest our faith and love in You. Thank You for helping us know the way to heaven.