April 10, 2019
In the reading from Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar ordered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to worship the golden statue the King had set up. King Nebuchadnezzar said that if the three men did not worship the golden statue that they would be cast into the white-hot furnace. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to worship the golden statue, but instead called on the Lord and trusted in the Lord to save them. This enraged King Nebuchadnezzar who then cast the men into the furnace but they were not harmed by the flames and heat. The King asked his nobles if the three man were cast into the fire and the nobles assured the King that they had been and the King then said “I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.” This reading gives us all strength today to stand up for our convictions and to stand up and proclaim God’s word and to do what is right and evangelize for the Lord, even if doing so can harm us; because the Lord stands with us and protects us. The reading gives us strength to know that even in difficult situations, when the majority of people are against us and not following what the Lord wants us to do, that God is with us to strengthen us and protect us.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says “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.” When the people heard this, they questioned Jesus, saying that they have not been enslaved. Jesus said “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 a Son frees you, then you will truly be free.” The people argued with Jesus and Jesus specifically said “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.” Jesus is telling the people that they need to listen to him because he is telling them the real truth. Jesus also tells the people that even though they are slaves to sin, believing in Jesus and doing what he commands and teaches, will free them (us) from their (our) sins and they (we) will then truly be free. Even though the people in John’s Gospel were not accepting Jesus’ words, these words are very powerful in reminding us today that we need to turn away from sin and follow Jesus’ words and he will truly set us free so that we can be with him and the Father when we pass from this world to the next.
St. Anthony Parishioner (and parish representative to Vision 20/20)