Readings for Wednesday April 12, 2011
First Reading: Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95
Responsorial Psalm: Daniel 3:52
Gospel: John 8:31-42
King Nebuchadnezzar said: "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you will not serve my god, or worship the golden statue that I set up? Be ready now to fall down and worship the statue I had made, whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet, flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe, and all the other musical instruments; otherwise, you shall be instantly cast into the white-hot furnace; and who is the God who can deliver you out of my hands?" Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, "There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! But even if he will not, know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue that you set up." King Nebuchadnezzar's face became livid with utter rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual and had some of the strongest men in his army bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and cast them into the white-hot furnace.
Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles, "Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?" "Assuredly, O king," they answered. "But," he replied, "I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God."
Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him; they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God." (Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95)
Today let us reflect on the courage of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three men were unwilling to worship anyone other than God, and they certainly were not worried about the consequences. They remained faithful to God, no matter what. That is the thing that we should always remember, that faithfulness is a two way streak; we should be faithful to God as He is to us. If there is a problem with faithfulness in this relationship, we know immediately who the problem is with (hint: it isn't God).
I pray that we may all be given their courage when tested in our lives.
Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you and give you praise for the many blessings in our lives. Lord, give us the courage and the strength to stand up against any opposition that we may face, and may we always defend and protect the faith and all life in this world. We pray for those who have fallen away, may they find their way back home through you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.