Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

 

Readings: Dan 3:14-20, 91-92, 95; Jn 8:31-42.

1/ First Reading: NAB Daniel 3:14 King Nebuchadnezzar questioned them: "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you will not serve my god, or worship the golden statue that I set up? 15 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 that can deliver you out of my hands?" 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, "There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! 18 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." 19 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 20 and had some of the strongest men in his army bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and cast them into the white-hot furnace. NAB Daniel 3:91 King Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles, "Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?" "Assuredly, O king," they answered. 92 "But," he replied, "I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God." 95 Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants that trusted in him; they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.

2/ Gospel: NAB John 8:31 Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him, "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." 33 They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, 'You will become free'?" 34 Jesus answered them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains. 36 So if a son frees you, then you will truly be free. 37 I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me, because my word has no room among you. 38 I tell you what I have seen in the Father's presence; then do what you have heard from the Father." 39 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. 40 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. 41 You are doing the works of your father!" (So) they said to him, "We are not illegitimate. We have one Father, God." 42 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.


Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

I. THEME: The truth sets us free.

             

            People, especially those who are in power, don’t want others to mention their wrong doings because they are afraid of loosing their face or must change accordingly. But nothing can be remained in darkness for ever; soon or later everybody must face the truth and do something about it. The truth, even though it hurts, can set people free. Many people, though living in falsity, think they are living in the truth. These people must let God’s truth shine so that they can recognize their falsity.   

            Today readings center on the need to find out and to live according to the truth because it liberates people. In the first reading, king Nebuchadnezzar thought the statue he made with his hands was the true god so that he commanded the three Jewish youths to worship it when the music started; if they don’t, he shall cast them into the fiery furnace. The three youths refused to obey his command because they determined to worship only the Lord God. When the king saw God’s power from the fiery furnace, he changed his mind and humbly confessed that their God was the true God, and he set them free. In the Gospel, Jesus wanted to point out to the Jews to know that they weren’t truly Abraham’s descendants because they didn’t do what Abhaham did which is to believe in God and to welcome the prophets He sent. They refused to believe what Jesus said and planned to kill him.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The three youths witnessed for the truth.

1.1/ The three Jewish youths refused to worhip any god but the Lord: King Nebuchadnezzar threatened them as follows: “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 that can deliver you out of my hands?”

            They courageously answered the king: “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 which you set up."

            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.”

1.2/ King Nebuchadnezzar recognized the Lord of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

            (1) The king recognized the strange vision in the fiery furnace: “King 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."”

            (2) The king believed in the Lord of the three youths: He recognized the Lord’s angel unbound the robes for the three youths so that they could freely walk and talk in the fiery furnace without any damages. Recognized his mistake, Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants that trusted in him; they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”

2/ Gospel: The truth shall set you free.

2.1/ Jesus is God’s truth.

            (1) The truth liberates people: Jesus then 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." To become Jesus’ disciples, they must believe what he said are true; and these words shall liberate them from all falsity. Then, they shall have true freedom because they know the truth. Therefore, there is a closed connection between remaining in Jesus’ words, becoming his disciples, the truth and the true freedom.

            The Jews didn’t understand what Jesus said. Moreover, they felt indignant because Jesus implied them to be slaves; they answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, 'You will become free'?” In reality, the Israelites became slaves for many nations such as: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and Rome; but they were so proud of themselves as Abraham’s descendants and God’s people.

            (2) Jesus liberates people from sins: What Jesus wanted to say is that they were slavery for sins because whoever sinned became a slave for sins. There is a big difference between a child and a slave: A child can live in the house for ever, a slave can be sold or expelled any time. Jesus warned them: You should be on guard; you were so proud of Abraham’s descendants; but if you sinned, you shall become slaves and could be expelled out of the house.

            If they believed in him, they shall be liberated from their sins and they shall have true freedom; but the Jews didn’t only refuse to believe in Jesus but also devised a plan to destroy him. Jesus differentiated between his Father and their father; but they prouldly said our father was Abraham.

2.2/ Abraham believed in God: Jesus didn’t believe in what they said because if they were Abraham’s descendants, they have the same Father with him, and Abraham believed in God. Jesus insisted to them that faith couldn’t only remain in words but must also be expressed in deeds: “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!”

            Abraham welcomed God’s messengers (Gen 18:1-8), not planned to kill them as the Jews were doing. Jesus wanted to tell them that if they were planning to kill God’s messengers, they weren’t God’s children nor Abraham’s descendants.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We should look for the truth everywhere and in any way because the truth shall liberate and give us true freedom.

            - Wherever we sinned, we become slaves for sin. Only Christ can liberate us from sin. We must believe in him and do what he teaches us.

            - Faith isn’t only about what we profess with our mouth, but must also be expressed by deeds. We aren’t saved by our profession of faith, but by practicing our faith and by witnessing for the truth.

Donation (credit card)

Thanks for your supporting.

Amount: