5th Wednesday of Lent
Daniel 3:14-20.91:2-3,-5; John 8:31-42
The Book of Daniel which pro9vides the first reading for today is understood to be a literary creation of an inspired Hebrew prophet. This is the way it is understood by modern Catholic exegetes. However, in earlier ages it was considered to be based on actual historical events. In both cases the essential message is identical, namely: put your trust in God and be faithful to His revelation and He will sustain you. There is of course, a great difference as to how God cares for his faithful followers . The author of Daniel, who remains unknown, writing as he did before Christ, views God’s preservation of Susanna from the false accusation of lying accusers. The intervention of the inspired Daniel assures that it is the guilty who are punished and the innocent spared.
When Jesus came some centuries later, he preached a very different message, both by word and by example. When he first proclaimed this new teaching as the only true interpretation of God’s way of treating His own Son, his closest followers were astonished. Yet they feared to question him on the matter. Whereas when our Lord surprised them on another occasion by his new teaching that marriage did not admit of divorce, Peter did not hesitate to follow up with his observation that such being the case it is better not to marry. The reasons they did not comment on this even more radical declaration that he himself was to be put to death was that such a prospect was too threatening for them to face.
Thus today’s Gospel reading for it presents our Lord as telling his Jewish opponents: “you are trying to kill me because my word has no room among you.” He goes on to add the bold assertion that “I tell you what I have heard in the Father’s presence, then do what you have heard from the Father.” These are among the most challenging words our Lord spoke, and they continue to be addressed to each of us today.
May our participation in this Eucharist this day so move us as to guide our way of living not only this day but all the days of our life, whether they be few or many.