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:
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
15 March 2017
The Lord spoke to Moses, ‘Go down now, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have apostatised. They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them; they have made themselves a calf of molten metal and have worshipped it and offered it sacrifice. “Here is your God, Israel,” they have cried “who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”’ the Lord said to Moses, ‘I can see how headstrong these people are! Leave me, now, my wrath shall blaze out against them and devour them; of you, however, I will make a great nation.’
But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘why should your wrath blaze out against this people of yours whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with arm outstretched and mighty hand? Why let the Egyptians say, “Ah, it was in treachery that he brought them out, to do them to death in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth”? Leave your burning wrath; relent and do not bring this disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, your servants to whom by your own self you swore and made this promise: I will make your offspring as many as the stars of heaven, and all this land which I promised I will give to your descendants, and it shall be their heritage for ever.’
So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
Jesus said to the Jews:
‘Were I to testify on my own behalf,
my testimony would not be valid;
but there is another witness who can speak on my behalf,
and I know that his testimony is valid.
You sent messengers to John,
and he gave his testimony to the truth:
not that I depend on human testimony;
no, it is for your salvation that I speak of this.
John was a lamp alight and shining
and for a time you were content to enjoy the light that he gave.
But my testimony is greater than John’s:
the works my Father has given me to carry out,
these same works of mine testify
that the Father has sent me.
Besides, the Father who sent me
bears witness to me himself.
You have never heard his voice,
you have never seen his shape,
and his word finds no home in you
because you do not believe in the one he has sent.
‘You study the scriptures,
believing that in them you have eternal life;
now these same scriptures testify to me,
and yet you refuse to come to me for life!
As for human approval, this means nothing to me.
Besides, I know you too well: you have no love of God in you.
I have come in the name of my Father
and you refuse to accept me;
if someone else comes in his own name
you will accept him.
How can you believe,
since you look to one another for approval
and are not concerned
with the approval that comes from the one God?
Do not imagine that I am going to accuse you before the Father:
you place your hopes on Moses,
and Moses will be your accuser.
If you really believed him
you would believe me too,
since it was I that he was writing about;
but if you refuse to believe what he wrote,
how can you believe what I say?’
…of you, however, I will make a great nation.
Having recently stepped up to take on a leadership role in my ministry, I have found that the approach to the kind of ‘work’ we, as leaders, are supposed to do is a bit different from the corporate world. The legacies of immediate past leaders cannot be so easily dismissed and to do so would be extremely foolish, especially if they have contributed significantly for more than a decade (or even two).
Today, at a capability development workshop, one of the members of my senior management gave an interesting answer when asked about what sort of legacy he wanted to leave behind when he retired. He said, “When I step down, I would like to continue providing advice to whoever succeeds me but only if he wants me to be around. I certainly am not going to hang around and be some sort of emeritus professor because I hope that whoever succeeds me will be even better than me.”
In terms of ministry renewal however, I have begun to appreciate that we cannot simply sweep aside the previous leadership nor let them ‘fade into the sunset’. Despite our best efforts at succession planning, these ‘elders’ have amassed so much wisdom over the years that to not tap into it would be foolhardy. Yet, how are the new leaders supposed to function and lead in the shadows (some can be very long) of those who have paved the way?
Brothers and sisters, God did not create us to merely be followers. Each and every one of us has a ‘leader’ inside of us that makes all kinds of choices on a daily basis. And God, in His desire for us to rise up, has promised that He would make a great nation of us. I take great comfort in this verse as I navigate much more choppy waters of late; both at work, and in ministry. In both cases, there has been some collateral damage and while it has caused me some distress, I have not let it weigh me down too much.
Why? Simply because I believe that He has called upon me to be a conduit of change – to help turn a stagnant, desolate situation into something more vibrant, alive and filled with hope. For that is what the Lord called Moses to be as he led the Israelites out of Egypt. Today, let us look at those around us who are weakened and in need of help. Can each of us be that ‘change agent’ and turn someone’s desolation into consolation?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, you created us for a purpose. Show us the way and be our strength and guide as we navigate our way through life here on earth.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for calling each of us to lead by example.