Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods and you do not worship the golden statue that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble to fall down and worship the statue that I have made, well and good.[a] But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire, and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?”16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter. 17 If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us.[b] 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.”19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face was distorted. He ordered the furnace heated up seven times more than was customary, 20 and ordered some of the strongest guards in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire.91 Hearing them sing, and amazed at seeing them alive, King Nebuchadnezzar rose up quickly. He said to his counselors, “Was it not three men that we threw bound into the fire?” They answered the king, “True, O king.” 92 He replied, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the middle of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the fourth has the appearance of a god.”95 Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him. They disobeyed the king’s command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.-Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95 NRSV
The above scripture passage is the first reading from today’s Mass. It is a long passage and speaks of three young men who took a stand. They had the choice to live, but by doing so they had to worship a false god. They chose not to abandon God and risked their lives in the process.
They were condemned to burning alive in a furnace and God rescued them. There was a fourth person, but who is this? This is what is called a theophany. A Theophany is a direct communication or appearance by God to human beings. God is with them. A title for Jesus is Emmanuel, which means “God with us”. Jesus, the second person of the blessed Trinity, God incarnate, was with them.
Choose God over all things. We have to choose God over false gods on a daily basis.
False Gods Of Our Daily Lives
It is likely that most of us don’t have a statue of a false god in our homes. However, we often erect false gods in our lives without even knowing it. How many times have we chosen to go on social media instead of praying or reading scripture? Perhaps we are servants to our electronic devices and they dictate every aspect of our lives.
There is nothing wrong with these things or other material possessions. The problem arises when we put these things ahead of God. Let us examine our hearts and minds today to see if this is something we are doing. Let us make the conscious choice to choose and serve the Lord.
A soul who is really resigned to God’s will does not become attached to any created thing because he sees clearly that all things are nothing except God.-Blessed Henry Susone
The goal of all our undertakings should be not so much a task perfectly completed as the accomplishment of the will of God.-St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face
If, devout soul, it is your will to please God and live a life of serenity in this world, unite yourself always and in all things to the divine will. Reflect that all the sins of your past wicked life happened because you wandered from the path of God’s will.-St. Alphonsus de Ligouri
The first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills it; and thirdly to do it because it is his will.-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton