Tonight, I went to our parish’s weekly mission of mercy they are doing for Lent. The theme was marriage and friendship so I didn’t know how the homily would affect my very single self, but apparently, I was there for something else.
The first reading. Well, who can pay attention when the reading is about Shadrach and Nebuchadnezzar? Usually, not me! But something jumped out as I tried to focus. Shadrach and his buddies, Jewish men, refused to worship a false god and responded to the King this way:
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego a answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O King, may he save us! But even if he will not, know, O King, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue which you set up.””
Imagine that? This was before Jesus. This was before a savior came for the Jews! Yet, they trusted God so strongly, that even if He did not will to save them from the furnace, they would still not deny Him. How often do we say to God, ‘answer my prayer and I’ll believe, I’ll be devoted, I’ll do what’s right forever’? These men said to God, ‘save us or not Lord, we will not deny you’!
Then I thought about Romans:
“For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”
Live or die, we are the Lord’s chosen ones. How much less do we have to fear now than Sadrach and his buddies? We know that Jesus died for our sins, rose from the grave and went on to prepare a place for us, opening the doors of heaven to us. We know the promise of salvation has been revealed.
Jesus, when I’m in danger or simply feel like I can’t keep going, help me to remember that whether I live or die, whether this cup remains or passes from me, I belong to you. Your promise is to be with me always, in life or death. Increase our trust in that promise! Amen!