Reading 1 (DANIEL 3:14-20, 91-92, 95)

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel

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.”

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (DANIEL 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56)

R. (52b)  Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim;
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,
praiseworthy and glorious forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!

Verse Before The Gospel (SEE LUKE 8:15)

(Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.)

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

(Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.)

Gospel (JOHN 8:31-42)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham
and have never been enslaved to anyone. 
How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever,
but a son always remains. 
So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.
I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill me,
because my word has no room among you. 
I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;
then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.” 
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children,
you would be doing the works of Abraham. 
But now you are trying to kill me,
a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;
Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!”
So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication. 
We have one Father, God.” 
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,
for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: In the First Reading (Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95), King Nebuchadnezzar was furious at Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego because they won’t bow down at the statue he has made. But the Three Young Men stood firm to their faith in God and vowed that only him shall they worship. As a result, the king sentenced them to be thrown into the fiery furnace. But as they were burning, he saw another man with them and amazed to see someone sent from God. That is why Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged Yahweh to be the One who is to be worshipped and bowed down. This story proved how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego believed in the truth, and it saved them from being burned by the fire.
In the Gospel (John 8:31-42), Jesus proclaims to the believing Jews that he has come to bring the truth, which will set them free. But these Jews do not understand what he is saying because they claim to be Abraham’s children. He assures them that they are enslaved by sin, which is why he has come down to earth. And he knew that they sought to kill him because he said that he is greater than Abraham. He did not need to win people’s praise for he only wants them to listen to his words which came from the Father. And he even obeyed the divine will by offering his life on the Cross to save us from sin. That is why after Pentecost, the Apostles proclaimed all these things and many Jews came to believe in Christ and were baptized. Then because of Saint Paul, many Gentiles also believed in our Lord and at the same time were baptized. Thus, the story of Jesus’ Paschal Mystery portray the loving plan of the Father, which is our salvation. 
In a few days, we shall be entering into the week that changed the world. We will commemorate the greatest event in history. But this wouldn’t be meaningful if we don’t let it affect our lives. One example is after Confession, we should promise never to commit sin again. So as we journey down the end of this Lenten road, let us cling to the teachings our Lord, which contain the truth, proclaim, and give witness to these things.

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