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TUESDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK OF LENT



A Reading from Daniel 3:25, 34-43


Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud: “For your name’s sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever, or make void your covenant. Do not take away your mercy from us, for the sake of Abraham, your beloved, Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one, To whom you promised to multiply their offspring like the stars of heaven, or the sand on the shore of the sea. For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins. We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader, no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense, no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you. But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received; As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks, or thousands of fat lambs, So let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly; for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame. And now we follow you with our whole heart, we fear you and we pray to you. Do not let us be put to shame, but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy. Deliver us by your wonders, and bring glory to your name, O Lord.”


REFLECTION

How much trust do you put in the Lord? Could you praise God while standing amidst flames?


Azariah was an Israelite. He was renamed Abednego (his Babylonian name), one of the three men who refused to worship the statue of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Azariah’s Hebrew name means, “helped by God” and so God did help him.


King Nebuchadnezzar commanded the Israelites to fall and worship his golden statue. Three young Israelites refused. The king offered to spare them from the punishment of death in a fiery furnace if they did bow to his idol. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered, “There is no need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace from your hands, O king, may He save us! But even if He will not, you should know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue which you set up.”


King Nebuchadnezzar was so angry that he had them thrown into the furnace after having the furnace heat intensified.


While the three were in the furnace they walked around in the flames singing and blessing God.


Their canticle is read in the Morning Prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours on the first day of the week (Sunday), on Solemnities, and on high feast days. This reading is my favorite, Daniel 3:57-88, 56. Reading this prayer of praise is a beautiful way to begin your day. It’s just uplifting to thank God for all that he created for us as the sun rises.


The king could not believe that they were not burned and when he looked into the furnace he saw a fourth man, The King asked his advisors. “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire? But I see four men unbound and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like the son of God.”


Faith and trust in the Lord’s mercy can douse the flames of fear. Azariah, Hananiah, and Mishael's faith were tested by fire and proved to be faithful. They put their faith and trust in God, and God helped them.


We praise God when we read and listen to His Word. His Words can build and strengthen our faith. His Word is a part of God’s armor to protect us from evil.

Come to PAPA FACE ZBS (PAPA’s Face-to-Face Bible Study) and strengthen your faith as you learn what Jesus wants us to know.


God bless you all!



Resources:

Old Testament, Daniel 3: 25-34-43.

https://uscatholic.org/articles/201710/a-fireproof-faith/

Catholic Prayer: Canticle of the Three Children from the Book of Daniel catholicculture.org


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