Daniel 3: 52, 53, 54, 55, 56 (Read)
“Blessed are you, O Lord, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”
This week's Psalm is taken from the book of Daniel.
The verses are an excerpt from the songs of Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego who have been thrown into
the fiery furnace by king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
These three young Jewish men refuse to worship the god
nor will they worship the golden statue
that has been set up by the King. As a consequence they
are cast into a white hot furnace by the King.
But these brave young men are seen walking about in the
flames, singing to God and blessing the Lord, using the words
in this week's Responsorial. An angel of the Lord goes down
into the furnace and makes the inside of the furnace as though
a “dew laden breeze were blowing through it.” So the fire in
no way touches or causes them pain or harm.
These three in the furnace with one voice sing, glorifying and
blessing God. The unwavering faith of the three makes a
strong impression on King Nebuchadnezzar when he sees
that these three young servants of God have trusted in God
and yielded their bodies, rather than serve or worship the
Babylonian god or a golden statue. The King himself is so
overwhelmed that he undergoes a conversion and exclaims,
“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.”
The verses of the Psalm affirm the power of God's love for us.
We too are inspired to respond with the words of the three
young Jewish men in the fiery furnace. Each day we
encounter our own trial by fire and emerge unscathed.
“Blessed are you, O Lord, praiseworthy and exalted above
Just as the men in the furnace were in awe of the glory
of the Lord, who sent an angel to rescue them, we too
stand in awe of the loving presence of our God. Helpless
without the strength of God in our lives, we focus not on
our own predicaments, but on the greatness of our God,
“Blessed are you O Lord. Glory and praise forever!”
Discussion Questions for Reflection
1. The verses of the Responsorial are songs of Shadrach,
Meshach,and Abednego, who are rescued from the fiery furnace.
We all encounter trial by fire when we live our faith. Speak of your
own rescue by the power of the Lord.
2. Daniel relates the story of King Nebuchadnezzar's conversion
after he observes the inspiring witness of the three young Jewish men.
Tell of how your own witness inspires others to become people of faith.