April 6, 2022
Wednesday of he Fifth Week of Lent
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we see faith tested by fire.
In our first reading, three young men stand convinced of God. Even the threat of a fiery death cannot shake them from that conviction.
And their faith is not a quid pro quo – a case where they say to God, “I’ll believe if you do ‘X’ for me.” No, their commitment is unqualified and complete:
If our God, whom we serve,Daniel 3: 17-18
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.
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are cast into the furnace, a fourth figure appears with them, an angel of God who delivers them safely through their trial.
In our Gospel, even “the Jews who believed” in Jesus begin to quibble with him. They stand with him at the threshold of his Passion and Death, the great fire that will test them all. Like the three young men at the furnace, they face the ultimate choice:
Who do you really believe in?
What God will you give your life to?
Jesus challenges them to follow him into the fire that faces him:
Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you …John 8: 34-36
… 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.
Throughout our lives, our faith will be tested many times. That’s why it’s called “faith” and not “certainty ”. Our life circumstances will ask us, again and again, if our faith is strong enough to stand in the fire, to walk the Calvary road with Jesus.
Let the testimony of the ages inspire us with courage. From our scriptural heritage, we know the fire hid an angel. We know the road continued past the bloody hill and on to the Resurrection. We know that every storm will pass and leave us washed anew in grace if we make that ultimate choice to be faithful.
Poetry: Touched by an Angel – Maya Angelou
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
Music: Praise You in This Storm – Casting Crowns