11 Oct – Memorial for Bl. John XXIII
A few days ago, I was reading a book called “101 Responses to Questions about Vatican II” and learned more about the wonderful man that Pope John XXIII was. I went to find out when his memorial day was, and was surprised to find it was so soon. So I decided to include a brief write-up on the the papalship of the pope that brought us the Second Vatican Council.
Oct 28, 1958 was the day that he was elected the 261st pope. As pope, he stressed his own pastoral duties as well as those of other bishops and clergy. He promoted social reforms for workers, poor people, orphans, and the outcast. He advanced cooperation with other faiths and traditions including Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Church of England, and even Shinto. In April 1959, he forbade Catholics to vote for parties supporting Communism. His encyclical “Mater et Magistra” of July 14, 1961 advocated social reform, assistance to underdeveloped countries, a living wage for all workers, and support for socialist measures that promised real benefit to society.
He nearly doubled the number of cardinals, making the college the largest in history. On Jan 25, 1959, he announced his intent to call a council to consider ways to renew the Church in the modern world, promote diversity within the unity of the Church, and consider reforms promoted by ecumenical and liturgical movements. Covening the Council, known as Vatican II, on Oct 11, 1962, was the high point of his reign.
His heartiness, his overflowing love for humanity individually and collectively, and his freshness of approach to ecclesiastical affairs made John one of the best-loved popes of modern times.
– Patron Saint Index
You say harsh things about me, says the Lord. You ask, ‘What have we said against you?’ You say, ‘It is useless to serve God; what is the good of keeping his commands or of walking mournfully before the Lord of hosts? Now we have reached the point when we call the arrogant blessed; yes, they prosper, these evildoers; they try God’s patience and yet go free.’ This is what those who fear the Lord used to say to one another. But the Lord took note and heard them: a book of remembrance was written in his presence recording those who fear him and take refuge in his name. One the day which I am preparing, says the Lord of hosts, they are going to be my own special possession. I will make allowances for them as a man makes allowances for the son who obeys him. Then once again you will see the difference between an upright man and a wicked one, between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve him. For the day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be like stubble. The day that is coming is going to burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, leaving them neither root nor stalk. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, “My friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine on his travels has arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him;” and the man answers from inside the house, “Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up to give it you.” I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it him for friendship’s sake, persistence will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants.
‘So I say to you: 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. What father among you would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or hand him a snake instead of a fish? Or hand him a scorpion if he asked for an egg? If you then, you are evil know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’
I shall be frank now and say that as I type this sharing I am feeling exhausted. I actually slept earlier on Tuesday and woke up later on Wednesday than I usually do but I felt more tired than normal. I also just returned from the birthday celebration of one of my close friends. Before I started typing, I thought to myself, “Maybe I can leave this till tomorrow morning, who’d miss if it was a bit late?” I even wondered, amidst all the lousy things around the world, about the actual readership of Oxygen. A good shower works wonders and so does prayer and a request of assistance from God for strength to do. And after reflecting on today’s readings, I found they were a pleasant thing to behold and type out, relevant to my sentiments at the moment too.
The first reading speaks on the difficulty of holding on to our faith and doing what is righteous. We might not face outright antagonism but there is definitely a pressure to conform to the majority which is probably worse. Feel like a piece of dirt in it all? God doesn’t deny that, Malachi acknowledges it in the passage. But we also have an assurance that steadfastness will have its due reward.
Still, as any person who has been on rigorous exercise of any sort will attest to, keeping a steady pace tires us out, makes bodies weaker as we lose water. It is always essential to have water to drink on marches for instance. For us in our faith journeys, this water comes from a source that never runs dry. Like a inexperienced sportsperson who thinks they can hold of water till the next station, we run the risk of collapse from drying out when not drawing from that life-spring when we need to. The Gospel passage again assures us how rich the waters from God are if we choose to ask Him for them.
I believe, as I might guess all the other writers of Oxygen do, that our sharings are offerings to God and that He will use them for purposes we might never conceive. And so, brothers and sisters, we soldier on though we tire and ask for strength to continue the fight. Amen.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Aloysius Ting)
For the repose of the soul of the patient I was supposed to donate platelets to but passed away. Eternal rest grant unto him/her O Lord, and may perpetual light shine on him/her. May s/he rest in peace. Amen.
Give thanks to the Lord for: Water to refresh our parched minds, bodies, souls and spirits.
Fri, Oct 12 – Joel 1:13-15, 2:1-2; Luke 11:15-26
Sat, Oct 13 – Joel 4:12-21; Luke 11:27-28
Sun, Oct 14 – 2 Kings 5:17-17; 2 Timothy 2:8-13; Luke 17:11-19; Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
To subscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
To unsubscribe to this mailing list, send a blank e-mail to this address:
OXYGEN is also available at:
Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.