In the first reading today, we heard about the three valiant men who refused to fall into the sin of idolatry in other time. The Jews were in exile, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were in exile in the province of Babylon under power of King Nebuchadnezzar, relatively, currently Iraq.
This king demanded all of his inhabitants, all the citizens from the most powerful to the peasant, to fall down and worship the statue he had made of himself. Those who refused when the signal was sent to bow down and worship the golden statue would be cast into a white-hot furnace. Word arrived to the king that the three Jews refused and they questioned him. Is this true that you will not serve my god or worship the golden statue that I set up. Be ready now to fall down and worship the statue I made.
After the refusal the king was livid, he was filled with fiery rage. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego responded to him saying if our God who we serve can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hand 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.
A similar dictatorship and totalitarian type oppression is at work in our own society in the United States of America and perhaps the whole of the Western world. Namely, if we don’t subscribe to the narrative of those who are in power and the so called prophets that represent the ideology of the radical far left, that anyone who does not support this narrative and all that it represents and trust that of being of great value for progress, are cancelled.
At this stage in the war this means being labelled backwards, a bigot, out of touch, etc. but this spirit, we have seen this spirit of totalitarianism oppression work in so many regimes and countries throughout history. So we see a fire of hatred that the enemy is brewing up under new labels, under a new setting and situation, a new stage of history – the world stage.
This is the ancient war between good and evil, the kingdom of light and kingdom of darkness, and the enemy desires to stir the fire of hated, especially hatred to God, and all that represents God, above all, the Incarnation of God Himself, in Jesus Christ and the Church that Jesus established thru the Sacrament of salvation and his family on earth.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down to this idolatry. Will we refuse to bow down to the idol of the idolatry of the LBGTQ of transgenderism, of pro abortion, of everything that undermines the dignity of the human being individually and as a family especially the heart of the family being marriage? When we refuse, as Catholic Christians to bow down to the idol of the rainbow flag, or whatever other form and fake expression of human rights is being pushed and force-fed, we are cancelled. We are put in the white hot furnace of their hatred and most likely this is just the beginning of this feud. What fueled Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was their faith, the fire of God’s love in them. As they were thrown, bound up, into the white hot furnace, they began to sing the praises of God. Blessed are you and praiseworthy, Lord the God of our fathers, and glorious forever is your name. With a contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received. Do not let us be put to shame but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
Deliver us by your wonders and bring glory to your name O Lord, that all those be routed who inflict evils on your servants. Let them be shamed and powerless, and their strength broken. Let them know that you alone are the lord God, glorious over the whole world.
The angel of the Lord went down into the furnace with the three young men and drove the fiery flame out of the furnace and made the inside of the furnace as though a dew laden breeze were blowing thru it. And the fire of hatred in no way touched them or caused them pain or harm because of fire of God’s love in them was greater than the fire of hatred outside of them.
As a result of this miraculous divine intervention, King Nebuchadnezzar experienced a conversion of heart, the greatest of miracles, and he came to faith in the God of these three young men and praised Yahweh saying, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who sent his angel to deliver the servants that trusted Him. They disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except the true God. May we also have that faith and fire of love which is greater than any fire of hate.
Reflection offered by Father Robert Elias Barcelos OCD
October 19, 1962:
Our Lady spoke, “My Flame of Love is burning. It is so great that I cannot keep it any longer within me. It leaps out to you with explosive power. When it pours out, my love will destroy the satanic hatred that contaminates the world. The greatest number of souls will be set free. Nothing like this has existed before.”