Wednesday, 21 March 2018 : 5th Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Daniel 3 : 14-20, 91-92, 95

King Nebuchadnezzar questioned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, “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 will not, 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 will not, 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 to 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 counsellors, “Did we not throw three men bound into the fire?” 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 fire rather than serve and worship any other god but their God.”

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