Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
(Daniel 3:14-20.91-92.95; John 8:31-42)
According to a leading member of the pro-life movement, Kristin Turner was a feminist, pro-choice college student. One day she was looking at pro-life videos for ammunition to defend the abortion alternative. Watching them, however, made her realize the right to life of unborn babies. Now, it is reported, she has formed a pro-life group at her college. We see a similar conversion taking place in today’s first reading and a lack of conversion in the gospel.
The king is furious with the three young Israelites for not following his command to worship himself. Because they remain loyal to the God of Israel, the king has them put into a red-hot furnace. But the heat does not scorch the three; rather, they thrive in the midst of the flames. The king soon recognizes that the God of Israel is the only true God. In the gospel Jesus tries to convince the Jews of God’s such great love for the world that he has sent it His Son. But the Jews cannot see Jesus as a gift from God who frees them from the onus of the law. They prefer to look at him as a menace to their concern that the people stay in line.
Many today also reject Jesus as Lord. They may admire some of his teachings but are selective about what they believe. They do not recognize that his selfless love will free them from constantly claiming rights and privileges. When we accept his love for us and practice it among others, we become much like Jesus. We become daughters and sons of the Father.