Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent




Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 253

1st Reading – DN 3:14-20, 91-92, 95

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.”

Responsorial Psalm – DN 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 LK 8:15

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

Gospel – JN 8:31-42

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.”

Catholic Daily Reflections

Freedom From Sin

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.” John 8:34-36

Jesus wants to set you free, but do you want to be set free? On an intellectual level this should be an easy question to answer. Of course you want your freedom! Who wouldn’t? But on a practical level this question is harder to answer. Practically speaking, many people are very comfortable living in sin. Sin offers a deceptive satisfaction that can be hard to turn away from. Sin can make you “feel” good in the moment, even though the long-term effects are that it strips your freedom and joy. But so often that momentary “satisfaction” is enough for many people to keep coming back.

So what about you? Do you want to be free so as to live as a son or daughter of the Most High God? If you answer “Yes” then be prepared for this to be painful, but in a delightful way. Overcoming sin requires purification. The process of “letting go” of sin requires true sacrifice and commitment. It requires you to turn to the Lord in absolute trust and abandon. In doing so you experience a sort of death to yourself, to your passions and to your own selfish will. This hurts, at least on the level of your fallen human nature. But it’s like a surgery that has the goal of removing cancer or some infection. The surgery itself may hurt, but it’s the only way to be freed of the malady you have. The Son is the Divine Surgeon and the way He sets you free is through His own suffering and death. Jesus’ Crucifixion and death brought life into the world. His death destroyed the disease of sin, and our willing acceptance of the remedy of His death means we must let Him destroy the disease of sin within us through His death. It must be “cut out” so to speak and removed by our Lord.

Lent is a time, more than any, in which you must honestly focus on your sin for the reason of identifying those things that keep you bound, so that you can invite the Divine Physician to enter your wounds and heal you. Do not let Lent go by without honestly examining your conscience thoroughly, and repenting of your sins with all your heart. The Lord wants you to be free! Desire it yourself and enter the process of purification so that you will be relieved of your heavy burdens.

Reflect, today, upon your attitude toward your own personal sins. First, can you humbly admit to your sin? Don’t rationalize them away or blame another. Face them and accept them as your own. Second, confess your sins. Reflect upon your attitude toward the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This is the Sacrament of freedom. It is so very easy. Just go in, admit all your sins, express sorrow and be set free. If you find this difficult then you are trusting your own feelings of fear rather than the truth. Third, rejoice in the freedom that the Son of God offers you. It’s a gift beyond anything we deserve. Reflect on these three things today and for the rest of Lent, and your Easter will be one of true thanksgiving!

Lord, I do desire to be set free from all sin so that I may live in the freedom of being Your child. Help me, dear Lord, to face my sin with honesty and openness. Give me the courage I need to admit my sin in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so that I may rejoice in all that You have bestowed upon me through Your suffering and death. Jesus, I trust in You.

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