Daily Bible Reading - March 20, 2024

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Claretian Communications Foundation, Inc.

5th WEEK OF LENT

Psalter: Week 1 / (Violet)

Responsorial Psalm: Dn 3: 52, 53, 54, 55, 56: Glory and praise forever!

1st Reading: Daniel 3: 14-20, 91-92, 95

King Nebuchadnezzar questioned them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden statue I have set up?

If you hear now the sound of horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and other instruments, will you fall down and worship the statue I made? If you won’t, you know the punishment: you will immediately be thrown into a burning furnace.

And then what god can deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we need not defend ourselves before you on this matter.

If you order us to be thrown into the furnace, the God we serve will rescue us. But even if he won’t, we would like you to know, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden statue you have set up.”

Nebuchadnezzar’s face reddened with fury as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of his strongest soldiers to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the burning furnace.

Then king Nebuchadnezzar suddenly rose up in great amazement and asked his counselors, “Did we not throw three men bound into the fi re?” They answered, “Certainly.” The king said, “But I can see four men walking about freely through the fire, without suffering any harm; and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who sent his angel to free his servants. who, trusting in him, disobeyed the king’s order; and preferred to give their bodies to the fi re rather than serve and worship any other god but their God.

Gospel: John 8: 31-42

Jesus went on to say to the Jews who believed in him “You will be my true disciples, if you keep my word. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are the descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves of anyone. What do you mean by saying: You will be free?”

Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave. But the slave doesn’t stay in the house forever; the son stays forever. So, if the Son makes you free, you will be really free. I know that you are the descendants of Abraham; yet you want to kill me because my word finds no place in you. For my part, I speak of what I have seen in my Father’s presence, but you do what you have learned from your father.”

They answered him, “Our father is Abraham.” Then Jesus said, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do as Abraham did. But now you want to kill me, the one who tells you the truth – the truth that I have learned from God. That is not what Abraham did; what you are doing are the works of your father.”

The Jews said to him, “We are not illegitimate children; we have one Father God.” Jesus replied, “If God were your Father you would love me, for I came forth from God, and I am here. And I didn’t come by my own decision, but it was he himself who sent me.”

REFLECTION:

“Stand against falsehood.”

We live in a time when historical facts are denied and lies proliferate. Social media platforms are used to scatter disinformation. Many people, unaware that they are actually being targeted by the perpetrators of such disinformation, are caught up in the web of falsehood. Their perception of reality is being distorted and their decision-making is negatively affected.

Hence, the lies that dominate social media become the reality of the people who do not discern well. Moreover, the spread of fake news and disinformation has adverse effects on society. It destroys communities. It is a grave sin.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus challenges us to keep his words if we truly are his disciples. Jesus’ true disciples build communities.

Furthermore, true communities can only be built on truth and never on lies.

In keeping his words, we shall know the truth and the truth will set us free. Jesus’ words expose the devil as the father of lies (cf. Jn. 8:44).

Jesus’ disciples must then keep his words by discerning well between right and wrong and decide on the side of what is right and good. As committed Christians, we have to stand against falsehood.

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

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