Bishop Banda’s Homily, Wednesday, 5th Week of Lent
The fiery furnace of tribulation is something that will definitely come in our lives. Perhaps not only once, but many a times. At times, we may even wonder, but why? The fiery furnace comes in all forms and shades: e.g. loss of employment, hurt from a broken or painful relationship, ill-treatment, accusations of all sorts from others, etc.
It is in this fiery furnace of our life that: our faith, our prayer life, our commitment, our loyalty and our sincerity are tested to the full. Unfortunately, time and again we fall prey to the flames of doubt, despair, anger and resentment.
However, in the 1st reading, when Shadrech, Meschach and Abednego were threatened with the fiery furnace to denounce their faith; on the contrary they stuck to their faith in God. God rescued them from their fear of death. He set them free to face and overcome the fear of the fiery furnace. Equally, when we believe in God and in His Word, God will rescue us from fear. He will save us from evil and malice.
The flames of the fiery furnace may not go off. However, by believing in God and living our faith, we will live in freedom from apprehension and we shall be able to walk in serenity with God in the tribulations of our life. When we trust in God, obeying His statutes and ordinances; God will free us from anxiety and He will see us through the thick and thin of life. He will provide us enough graces to overcome hurdles of our life.
Like Shadrech, Meschach and Abednego, Jesus always did the will of His Father (Jn. 5: 30). He declared that: “I have come down from heaven to do the will of Him who sent me” (Jn. 6: 38). Obedience to the Father was the very essence of Jesus’ life and His very self. In obedience, He suffered death on the Cross. But God raised Him from the dead and He became the source of eternal life for all who obey Him (Heb. 5: 7-9).
When we understand this, we will appreciate that our identity flows from our obedience to God. Obedience ought to be our guide in our Christian vocation. Therefore by forgiving those who hurt us, we are freed from hurt. By praying for those who offend us, we are freed from our persecutors. By not judging others, we are freed from prejudice. By loving others, we are freed from enmity and hostility. May our faith in God be the guarantee of our salvation.