April 1, 2020 – 5th Week of Lent

“Being faithful to the Lord, even when we know it is God’s Will that is permitting us, to experience momentary suffering and struggle!”

(Based on Dan 3:14-20, 24-25, 28 and Jn 8:31-42)

Valiant stories of courage and faith are always an inspiration!

One such beautiful incident is narrated in the 3rd Chapter of the Book of Daniel

This chapter describes how the Jews were forced to bow down before a golden image of King Nebuchadnezzar.

However, three young men – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – refused to do so, and held on to their faithfulness to God Yahweh.

This act of defiance infuriated the king and he warned them of severe consequences if they failed to to do what he commanded.

At this, the three young, displaying immense courage and faith in the Lord responded:
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
But if not, be it known to you, O king…
… that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up!” (Dan 3:16-17)

The three young men were convinced of the mighty delivering Hand of the Lord…

But not only that; they also boldly offered themselves to the Will of God and declared…
… “even if it is the Will of God, that we should momentarily suffer in this fire, we will still be faithful to God!”

That’s Faith! That’s Trust!

Holding on to the Lord, not only because you wish that God will answer your prayer, in the way you want, and in the time you want…
… but being faithful to the Lord, even when you know it is God’s Will that is permitting you, to experience momentary suffering and struggle!

Being convinced of the Truth and Beauty of God’s Will…
… they were willing to make every sacrifice – and go against every stubborn temptation!

Are we ready to open our eyes to this Truth of knowing and accepting God’s Will in our life?

Or do we remain stubborn and defiant in the ‘temptation to think and do as per our own wishes’…
… and fail to experience the Divine Power of the Lord?

The Gospel of the Day is a continuation of the Jews getting into arguments with Jesus on the question of His Divinity.

The Lord invites them open their eyes to see and experience the Truth…
… but they close their minds, and choose to remain stubborn, in their own understanding

The Lord exposes before them the futility of being ignorant and the advantage of knowing the Truth…
… but they wilfully choose to remain stuck in their past knowledge and be unwilling to open their hearts to possibilities of change.

Jesus, the Truth-Incarnate, declares: “You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free” (Jn 8: 31)
But the people retorted and answered: “… we have never been enslaved…” (Jn 8: 33)

They considered slavery from only a physical perspective!

They were extremely offended when Jesus considered them to be slaves!

But Jesus brings the focus into right perspective (as he does always!), and speaks of a deadlier form of slavery and a higher form of freedom…

A slavery to Sin…
… that causes one to be away from God and His people

A slavery to ignorance and error…
… that causes one to be closed to God’s Word and prevent His transformation to take place within

He invites to receive Freedom in Him…
… that enjoins with knowing and doing the Father’s Will
… that liberates one from the bondages of death, and leads into peace and joy!

The danger to remain stagnant in sinful or ignorant ways constantly lurks in our life:

The Truth of the Bible is often presented to us in appealing and interesting formats…
… but we often seek to remain ignorant or don’t show any interest to read and understand God’s Word

The beauty of the Sacramental Life and the Teachings of the Church is laid before our eyes…
… but we time and again, tend to be lethargic, casual and sometimes even, hostile to them

Our eyes often come into contact with the suffering lot of people, in and around us…
… but many times, we turn a blind eye to them and remain indifferent in our cosy lifestyle

Each of us needs a purification…

Each of us needs a movement…

A purification from our stubborn ways to a life of obedience and docility to God’s Word

A movement from a sluggish life of faith to being a fervent and committed Christian

Yes, Jesus is constantly extends His Nail-Scarred Hands, inviting us to a life of holiness and sanctity.

We are constantly exhorted, to live in holiness and purity…
… but often, we stubbornly choose to inhabit in sin, shame and ignorance!

We are invited, to a life of spotlessness and sanctity…
… but often, we remain satisfied to dwell with the unclean and dirty things of life!

Let us make a self-examination of our state of life…
… realize the need to have a purification and a movement…
… and embrace and live with Jesus, the Truth, “Who sets us free”!

Today, let us make a firm commitment – like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the three young men in the Book of Daniel, whose life was a valiant story of courage and faith

And hold on to the Lord, not only because we wish that God will answer our prayer, in the way we want and in the time we want…
… but being faithful to the Lord, even when we know it is God’s Will that is permitting us, to experience momentary suffering and struggle!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “God will unfailingly be pleased with our patience and take note of our diligence and perseverance!”

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