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First Wednesday of Passiontide

April 13, 2011

Blessed St. Martin I’s Day!

His story immediately precedes this post.

And I realize this is a little after the fact,
but here’s a link to Pope Benedict XVI’s message for this Lent.

Lord of mercy, hear the prayers of Your repentant children
who call on You with love.
Enlighten our minds and sanctify our hearts.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Opening Prayer for today’s Mass)

Readings:
Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95 (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace)
Daniel 3:52-56 “Glory and praise forever!”
+ John 8:31-42 (we are slaves of sin, but Jesus has come to set us free)

Whom will you obey?

In the answer to that question lies our freedom…or our slavery.

It’s not a question of whether we will obey.
One way or another, we are obedient; to our desires, to people, to the ancient serpent, to God…
(although God often asks us to obey Him through other people).
Only God knows how to use obedience to ennoble us,
to free us to be all He created us to be.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were confronted with this clash of obediences.
Against God’s command,

I, the Lord, am your God…you shall have no other gods before Me
-Exodus 20: 2, 3

came King Nebuchadnezzar’s:

you are ordered to fall down and worship the golden statue
-Daniel 3:5

The three Jewish princes stood firm.

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 which you set up
-Daniel 3: 17-18

They were free. Nothing could shake their obedience to God.

God illustrated their inner freedom with an external sign.
Despite having been bound by some of the strongest men in the army (Daniel 3:20),

They walked about in the flames, singing to God and blessing the Lord
-Daniel 3:24

Now that’s freedom!

Jesus’ audience was not so fortunate.
Despite their protests of allegiance to Abraham, their deeds told quite a different story:

you are trying to kill Me…
you do what you have heard from your father…the devil
-John 8:37, 38, 44

shudder

That’s the bitterest slavery of all.

everyone who lives in sin is the slave of sin
-John 8:34

when sin reaches maturity it begets death
-James 1:15

But we don’t have to stay there!

If you live according to My teaching, you are truly My disciples;
then you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free
-John 8:31-32

That’s the freedom we just witnessed in the fiery furnace.
God’s been extending it to us with open arms since the dawn of creation!

It’s up to us to obey…Him.

May we walk in the freedom of the sons of God.

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