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By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Apr 1, 2009)
Readings: Dan 3:14-20, 91-92, 95; Jn 8:31-42
"If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may He save us!" Dan 3:17
Many a young heart has been stirred by the heroism of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in our first reading. These strong, brave young men with everything to live for — with their whole future spread before them like the sun at its rising — choose to defy the pagan king Nebuchadnezzar. They stoutly refuse to offend the unseen God of their fathers by worshipping the golden statue as the irate king has commanded.
"O King, if our God whom we serve can save us from your wrath, from the wrath of the furnace, may He save us," they tell him. "But even if He will not, know, O King, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue you have set up" (Dan 3:17-18). Surely, these brave young men give us one of the clearest and most convincing witnesses of belief in the one true God.
What about us? At times, we can become too self-absorbed, too self-concerned. The fears of life can cause us to falter and compromise our faith. But the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is our God as well. He calls us into the fiery furnace of this world to witness for Him and His truth, a truth that causes us to lay down our life if necessary, rather than to surrender. We are called to remember that Christ our Lord holds all time and eternity in His majestic Person. He alone is the true God. He is worth living and dying for.
So, let's put the evil one on notice: "We will not serve any god except the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego."
O Lord, grant that I may witness to You with courage. May I prayerfully contemplate You as the one true God. Amen.