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:
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
Thus says the Lord:
At the favourable time I will answer you,
on the day of salvation I will help you.
(I have formed you and have appointed you
as covenant of the people.)
I will restore the land
and assign you the estates that lie waste.
I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out’,
to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’
On every roadway they will graze,
and each bare height shall be their pasture.
They will never hunger or thirst,
scorching wind and sun shall never plague them;
for he who pities them will lead them
and guide them to springs of water.
I will make a highway of all the mountains,
and the high roads shall be banked up.
Some are on their way from afar,
others from the north and the west,
others from the land of Sinim.
Shout for joy, you heavens; exult, you earth!
You mountains, break into happy cries!
For the Lord consoles his people
and takes pity on those who are afflicted.
For Zion was saying, ‘The Lord has abandoned me,
the Lord has forgotten me.’
Does a woman forget her baby at the breast,
or fail to cherish the son of her womb?
Yet even if these forget,
I will never forget you.
Jesus said to the Jews, ‘My Father goes on working, and so do I.’ But that only made them even more intent on killing him, because, not content with breaking the sabbath, he spoke of God as his own Father, and so made himself God’s equal.
To this accusation Jesus replied:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
the Son can do nothing by himself;
he can do only what he sees the Father doing:
and whatever the Father does the Son does too.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything he does himself,
and he will show him even greater things than these,
works that will astonish you.
Thus, as the Father raises the dead and gives them life,
so the Son gives life to anyone he chooses;
for the Father judges no one;
he has entrusted all judgement to the Son,
so that all may honour the Son
as they honour the Father.
Whoever refuses honour to the Son
refuses honour to the Father who sent him.
I tell you most solemnly,
whoever listens to my words,
and believes in the one who sent me,
has eternal life;
without being brought to judgement
he has passed from death to life.
I tell you most solemnly,
the hour will come – in fact it is here already –
when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God,
and all who hear it will live.
For the Father, who is the source of life,
has made the Son the source of life;
and, because he is the Son of Man,
has appointed him supreme judge.
Do not be surprised at this,
for the hour is coming when the dead will leave their graves
at the sound of his voice:
those who did good will rise again to life;
and those who did evil, to condemnation.
I can do nothing by myself;
I can only judge as I am told to judge,
and my judging is just,
because my aim is to do not my own will,
but the will of him who sent me.’
My Father goes on working, and so do I.
We have had a ‘tumultuous’ few weeks in our ministry, culminating in a change (and expansion) in the leadership. Inevitably, many of us have been called to step up and to assume leadership roles, some even ‘double hatting’ in two sections. The past few meetings have been rather intense and we are close to executing the plans/strategies for the year, trusting that our hard work will lead the ministry onwards and forward.
This period has also coincided in a ‘dark’ time at work, with one or two tough decisions having to be made about underperforming staff. The morale of the team at work has taken a hit and I have been trying to encourage those around me to look ahead and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then, as I started to reflect on today’s verses, I received the news that an offer of employment had been accepted by a desired candidate. Hallelujah!
I am sure that many of us in ministry have fallen into the trap of ‘doing’ that we lose sight of the initial joy of serving. We get so caught up in performing our tasks or ensuring a project comes together that we forget to let God take over and guide us. Over the years, I have learnt that at some point, we have to be mindful of the little successes and blessings that come our way; and to simply rejoice. Because even play takes a bit of work in the context of our hustle and bustle lives (yes, even in ministry).
Brothers and sisters, even in our darkest hours, even when we are desolate or in a state that weighs heavy in our hearts, we must always look to the Lord to provide the glimmer of hope. For the Lord always works to bring joy into our lives, no matter how wretched we are feeling. It may not be that one million dollars falling into your lap, nor that promotion you have been craving. It may just be a simple dinner shared with a spouse, or a hug from one of your children. Never discount that warmth you feel rising in your heart or that lump in your throat when a stranger offers a helping hand. We must all learn to be mindful of how God works to assure us that no matter the circumstances around us, He will never fail us. He will lead us through our desolation and bring us to the promised land. Each and every day we live and breathe on this earth.
And so I offer the flip side. What are WE doing as Christians to bring God into the lives of those around us? How are we working just as Jesus did to bring joy, love and peace into the lives of those we care about. And those who we interact with regularly? Are we truly working hard at being true living examples of Jesus Christ?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Father, teach us to appreciate your hand in our lives so that we in turn may then reach out to those in need of your loving touch.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for all those who have helped us on our faith journeys, and for giving us a heart that beats for you.