We apologize for the delay in the posting and sending of today’s reflection, due to a technical error that we experienced last night. Thank you for your patience and continued support. God bless you!
– The Oxygen team
4 July – St Elizabeth of Portugal
Elizabeth (1271-1336) was a princess with a pious upbringing who became Queen of Portugal before she was a teenager. Elizabeth suffered through years of her husband’s abuse and adultery, praying all the while for his conversion, and working with the poor and sick. She rode onto the battlefield to reconcile her family members twice; once between her husband and son when they clashed in civil war, and between her son and his son-in-law years later, preventing bloodshed. This led to her patronage as a peacemaker, and as one invoked in time of war and conflict.
– Patron Saint Index
Isaac had grown old, and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see. He summoned his elder son Esau, ‘My son!’ he said to him, and the latter answered, ‘I am here.’ Then he said, ‘See, I am old and do not know when I may die. Now take your weapons, your quiver and bow; go out into the country and hunt me some game. Make me the kind of savoury I like and bring it to me, so that I may eat, and give you my blessing before I die.’
Rebekah happened to be listening while Isaac was talking to his son Esau. So when Esau went into the country to hunt game for his father, Rebekah took her elder son Esau’s best clothes, which she had in the house, and dressed her younger son Jacob in them, covering his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skins of the kids. Then she handed the savoury and the bread she had made to her son Jacob.
He presented himself before his father and said, ‘Father.’ ‘I am here;’ was the reply ‘who are you, my son?’ Jacob said to his father, ‘I am Esau your first-born; I have done as you told me. Please get up and take your place and eat the game I have brought and then give me your blessing.’ Isaac said to his son, ‘How quickly you found it, my son!’ ‘It was the Lord your God’ he answered ‘who put it in my path.’ Isaac said to Jacob, ‘Come here, then, and let me touch you, my son, to know if you are my son Esau or not.’ Jacob came close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, ‘The voice is Jacob’s voice but the arms are the arms of Esau!’ He did not recognise him, for his arms were hairy like his brother Esau’s, and so he blessed him. He said, ‘Are you really my son Esau?’ And he replied, ‘I am.’ Isaac said, ‘Bring it here that I may eat the game my son has brought, and so may give you my blessing.’ He brought it to him and he ate; he offered him wine, and he drank. His father Isaac said to him, ‘Come closer, and kiss me, my son.’ He went closer and kissed his father, who smelled the smell of his clothes.
He blessed him, saying:
‘Yes, the smell of my son
is like the smell of a fertile field blessed by the Lord.
May God give you
dew from heaven,
and the richness of the earth,
abundance of grain and wine!
May nations serve you
and peoples bow down before you!
Be master of your brothers;
may the sons of your mother bow down before you!
Cursed be he who curses you;
blessed be he who blesses you!’
John’s disciples came to him and said, ‘Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of mourning as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunken cloth on to an old cloak, because the patch pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; if they do, the skins burst, the wine runs out, and the skins are lost. No; they put new wine into fresh skins and both are preserved.’
The smell of my son is like the smell of a fertile field blessed by the Lord
Rebekah’s first born was clearly her favourite. After all, she wanted him to be the leader of their clan and wanted him to be exalted, despite knowing that God wanted Esau to be the one who would carry out God’s promises. She went to the deceitful extent of allowing her Jacob to wear Esau’s clothes and because of this, she received a punishment unbearable to any mother — to be separated from her son, Jacob. Sometimes, when we alter God’s plan, we suffer because we have moved away from His perfect plan.
Today, the Pharisees continue to ask Jesus why his disciples don’t adhere to the law of fasting, more to find fault with them; they are not really interested to learn about His will or His ways. In prayer, do we have the same motive when we ask God, ‘why me’ accusing Him of forsaking us? Is it our way of mocking Him because we cannot trust Him enough?
Our relationship with the Lord is likened to many things. While He is our Father who knows how we smell, He is the shepherd and we are His sheep who know His voice; He is the bridegroom at a feast and we celebrate Him. Jesus uses so many ways to illustrate who He is to us.
If we draw parallels to our human relationships, we can understand how our God who truly loves us, adores us and nurtures us. He is as real as any other member of our family. He sees us when we are evading His call and He knows when we are being manipulative to get our way. He also sees us with great mercy because He knows we are trying to reach Him in a way we know best.
Today, are we blinded by favouritism in our household and in the workplace? Are we honest to our elderly parents who are dependent on us? Are we truthful to our spouses, by upholding our marital vows as parents? And are we leaving a legacy of obedience and faith for generations to follow?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Josephine Dionisappu)
Prayer: Lord, help us to hear Your voice. Make us truthful children who obey You, and faithful disciples who are always able to listen to Your voice and answer Your call.
Thanksgiving: Our Lord is greater than all others we ever know. We will love you by living a life of truth.