14 March 2019
Queen Esther took refuge with the Lord in the mortal peril which had overtaken her. She besought the Lord God of Israel in these words:
‘My Lord, our King, the only one,
come to my help, for I am alone
and have no helper but you
and am about to take my life in my hands.
‘I have been taught from my earliest years, in the bosom of my family,
that you, Lord, chose
Israel out of all the nations
and our ancestors out of all the people of old times
to be your heritage for ever;
and that you have treated them as you promised.
‘Remember, Lord; reveal yourself
in the time of our distress.
‘As for me, give me courage,
King of gods and master of all power.
Put persuasive words into my mouth
when I face the lion;
change his feeling into hatred for our enemy,
that the latter and all like him may be brought to their end.
‘As for ourselves, save us by your hand,
and come to my help, for I am alone
and have no one but you, Lord.’
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. Is there a man among you who would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or would hand him a snake when he asked for a fish? If you, then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.’
‘Remember, Lord; reveal yourself in the time of our distress.
This week has been a tough week for some of my friends. They are facing challenges at work such as difficult bosses. Some are also worried about the renewal of their employment papers. Another is dealing with too much work which causes a breakdown in his marriage. In all these issues, we ask ourselves where God is in their lives.
The first reading can provide us with some clue. The people of Israel were facing tremendous persecution and Queen Esther was feeling troubled. Torn between the identity as a Jew and the danger of losing her life for fear of offending the king, she went to the Lord in prayer. Indeed, she was facing the same issues that all of us face – the inability to understand what God desires and wants from us.
Sometimes we ask God why he puts us through these troubles in our lives. We ask for the ability to be freed from these concerns yet our prayer is not answered. Perhaps it is a sign for us to remember that we need to trust in God and not depend on our own human power. Only by surrendering to God can we allow ourselves to achieve the plan which he has set out for us. In this season of Lent, let us remember that we should try to mortify ourselves of whatever holds us back from entering into a relationship with God.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, let us discover what it means to surrender our will to you.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the people who love us.