Weekday of Lent (5)
Today’s Rosary: The Glorious Mysteries
“He has sent his angel and delivered his servants.”
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel (Daniel 3:14-20.24-25.28)
In those days: King Nebuchadnezzar said, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music to fall down and worship the image which I have made, well and good; but if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace; and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If it be so, our God, whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.” Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was accustomed to be heated. And he ordered certain mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He said to his counsellors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered the king, “True, O king.” He answered, “But I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set at naught the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Daniel 3:29-184.108.40.206.34 (R. 29b)
R/. You are to be praised and highly exalted for ever.
Blessed are you, O Lord, God of our fathers,
and to be praised and highly exalted for ever;
And blessed is your glorious, holy name
and to be highly praised and highly exalted for ever. R/.
Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory
and to be extolled and highly glorified for ever. R/.
Blessed are you upon the throne of your kingdom
and to be extolled and highly exalted for ever. R/.
Blessed are you, who sit upon cherubim
and look upon the deeps,
and to be praised and highly exalted for ever. R/.
Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven
and to be sung and glorified for ever. R/.
VERSE BEFORE THE GOSPEL
Luke 8: 15
Glory and praise to you, O Christ.
Blessed are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 8:31-42)
“If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
At that time: Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are descendants of Abraham, yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do what Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did. You do the works of your father.” They said to him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
The Jews in the Gospel were suffering from self-delusion. They claimed that they had never been in bondage to anyone. That was a lie. All through its history, the Jewish nation had been in bondage to one foreign power after another: the Egyptians, the Philistines, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, and the Greeks. At the very time, they were speaking to Jesus, their country was in bondage to the Romans. What they did not know was that they were even in bondage to far greater power than them all, Satan. Jesus had come to free them and all humankind from the bondage. But if they insisted that they were free, he could not help them. Only those who admit their need to be freed from the yoke of Satan can benefit from the freedom that Jesus brings.