5th week in Lent, Wednesday – 29th March 2023 –Daniel 3,14-20.24-25.28; Jn 8,31-42
Ever Glowing Faith
Today’s first reading helps us to give primacy to God in everything, pushing all else to secondary place. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had built a golden statue and commanded all his subjects to bow down as a test of loyalty. Three young Jewish men – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – were in the service of the royal court, and were favourites of the king for their outstanding qualities, who refused to worship the statue. They preferred death rather than turn their back on their God. The king threatens to throw them into a white-hot furnace. The young men calmly reply that either their God will save them, because he can, even if he does not, they will still remain steadfast in their trust of God. Angry king threw them into a seven times hot furnace. Later, when the king makes enquiries and finds that along with the three young men, a fourth person (an angel) was walking around unharmed in the fire. The pagan king was deeply moved by what he saw. First, he was filled with the admiration and praise for the God that delivered them from burning death. Second, he deeply respected the young men who disobeyed him and were ready to sacrifice their lives, rather than turn their back on their God. Linking this reading to the Gospel, in which Jesus speaks of those who are truly descendants of Abraham. If those attacking him were true descendants, then they would recognize Jesus as truly the Son of God. As it is, they show they are not true descendants. What a contrast – pagan king believed in God, privileged Israelites didn’t believe in Jesus.