As the Christmas Season ends, the Gospel talks about the visit of the Magi from the East, who came to pay homage to the newborn Jesus. They searched when they saw His star at its rising, and have come to adore Him. In the First Reading, we are reminded of the coming of the light,
‘Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.’ (Is. 60: 1)
This foretelling made by the Prophet Isaiah centuries before, was confirmed during His public ministry when Jesus said,
‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ (Jn. 8: 12)
Who is Jesus Christ to you?
A few days ago we were horrified with the news of the death of an eight-year-old girl who was left inside the car that her family borrowed for a night out at a mall in Pasay City. She died of suffocation, carbon monoxide poisoning her system and starving it of oxygen. Without oxygen we die, as it is an essential gas; at sea level it’s about 20.9% but the higher in altitude, the less dense the air becomes so there is less oxygen. For example, in Lhasa City, in Tibet, at an altitude of about 11,975 feet above sea level, the oxygen content is around 13.2%. People that live in areas higher than that can get used to even less oxygen, although productive work and cognitive skills go down with the reduction of oxygen available to the body and brain. Higher than these, when riding a plane for example, up to 10,000 feet (~14.3%) no additional oxygen is required since there is not much activity anyway, as passengers are just sitting comfortably.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), determined the optimal breathing range to be between 19.5 and 23.5 percent oxygen. Serious side effects will occur if the oxygen levels are outside of this ‘safe’ zone.
At levels at or below 17 percent, our mental abilities become impaired; at 16 percent or below, noticeable changes to our beings while levels under 14 percent will cause extreme exhaustion from physical activity. At levels below 10 percent, we may become very nauseous or lose consciousness. Humans won’t survive with levels at 6 percent or lower.
On the other hand, higher-than-normal oxygen levels aren’t as harmful to life, however there is an increased risk of fire or explosion. With extremely high concentrations of oxygen though, in the breathing zone, humans can experience harmful side effects. Very high levels of oxygen causes oxidizing free radicals to form. These free radicals will attack the tissues and cells of the body and cause muscle twitching. The effects from short exposure can most likely be reversed, however lengthy exposure can cause death.
Without oxygen, just like the little girl, we will die. Obviously, my answer to the question refers to the Lord Jesus Christ as THE oxygen of my soul!
When asked of the same question, Lord Alfred Tennyson, the Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria’s reign, answered: ‘What the sunshine is to the flower, the Lord Jesus Christ is to my soul.’
How about you, who is Jesus Christ to you?
‘Lord, every nation on earth will adore you!’ (Ps. 72: 11)