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Mass Readings

Catholic Ireland

Liturgical Readings for : Wednesday, 29th March, 2023
Léachtaí Gaeilge
Next Sunday's Readings

Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Lent

General Themes: The three young men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the the Book of Daniel refused to obey an unjust law – a higher law, God’s law was at stake. We need courage to back up our conscience.


A reading from the prophet Daniel             3:14-20. 24-25. 28
Theme: He has sent his angel to rescue his servants.

King Nebuchadnezzar addressed them,
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is it true that you do not serve my gods, and that you refuse to worship the golden statue I have erected? When you hear the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, or any other instrument, are you prepared to prostrate yourselves and worship the statue I have made? If you refuse to worship it, you must be thrown straight away into the burning fiery furnace; and where is the god who could save you from my power?’

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar,
Your question hardly requires an answer: if our God, the one we serve, is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your power, O king, he will save us; and even if he does not, then you must know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the statue you have erected.’
These words infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar; his expression was very different now as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He gave orders for the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual, and commanded certain stalwarts from his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the burning fiery furnace.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar sprang to his feet in amazement. He said to his advisers,
Did we not have these three men thrown bound into the fire?’
They replied,Certainly, O king.
But,‘ he went on ‘I can see four men walking about freely in the heart of the fire without coming to any harm. And the fourth looks like a son of the gods.’
Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed,
‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: he has sent his angel to rescue his servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their own.’

The Word of the Lord           Thanks be to God

Responsorial Psalm        Daniel 3:52-56
Response                             To you glory and praise for evermore.

1. You are blest, Lord God of our fathers.             Response: To you glory and praise for evermore.
Blest your glorious holy name.                               Response: To you glory and praise for evermore.

2. You are blest in the temple of your glory.        Response: To you glory and praise for evermore.
You are blest on the throne of your kingdom.     Response: To you glory and praise for evermore.

3. You are blest who gaze into the depths.           Response: To you glory and praise for evermore.
You are blest in the firmament of heaven.           Response: To you glory and praise for evermore.

Gospel  Acclamation        Mt 4: 4
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!

Or                                              Lk 8: 15
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
Blessed are those who, with a noble and generous heart,
take the word of God to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!


A reading from the holy Gospel according to John         8:31-42          Glory to you, O Lord
Theme: If the Son of man makes you free, you will be happy indeed.

To the Jews who believed in him Jesus said:
If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free.’
They answered,
We are descended from Abraham and we have never been the slaves of anyone;
what do you mean, “You will be made free”
Jesus replied:
I tell you most solemnly, everyone who commits sin is a slave.
Now the slave’s place in the house is not assured, but the son’s place is assured.
So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are descended from Abraham; but in spite of that you want to kill me because nothing I say has penetrated into you.
What I; for my part, speak of is what I have seen with my Father; but you, you put into action the lessons learnt from your father.’
They repeated, ‘Our father is Abraham.’
Jesus said to them:
‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would do as Abraham did.
As it is, you want to kill me when I tell you the truth as I have learnt it from God; that is not what Abraham did.
What you are doing is what your father does.’

We were not born of prostitution,’ they went on ‘we have one father: God.’
Jesus answered:
‘If God were your father, you would love me, since I have come here from God; yes, I have come from him; not that I came because I chose, no, I was sent, and by him.’

The Gospel of the Lord.                   Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


Gospel Reflection     Wed. 29 March      Fifth Week of Lent          John 8:31-42

The story in the first reading of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were preserved alive by God, after they had been thrown into the fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar, was interpreted in the early church as a foreshadowing of Jesus being preserved alive by God, after he had been nailed to a Roman cross by the governor Pilate. The three men walked about freely in the fiery furnace, in the company of a fourth man who looked ‘like a son of the gods’. After Jesus had been crucified and buried, he was raised to new life and freely appeared to his disciples as risen Lord. God frees those who trust in him from the power of death.

According to the gospel reading, God sent his Son into the world to free us from the power of sin and death. Jesus declares that he tells the truth ‘as I have learned it from God’ and he promises that those who become his disciples will learn the truth’ from him and the truth will make you free’. God’s Son is the source of true freedom, freedom from sin and death, if the Son make you free, you will be free indeed’. Jesus reveals the truth about God, which is that God is Love. He pours the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of God’s love, into our lives. The more we open ourselves to the coming and presence of the Holy Spirit, the freer we will be to live with the life of God, which is a life of love.

As Saint Paul says in his second letter to the Corinthians, ‘where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom’. Freedom is not the ability to live as we want but the ability to live as God wants, as God created us to live. The truly free person is the one who is alive with the love of God, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives us that freedom, because genuine love, the love that is of God, is the fruit of the Spirit.


The Scripture Readings are taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd. and used with the permission of the publishers.  http://dltbooks.com/
The Scripture Reflection is made available with our thanks from Reflections on the Weekday Readings 2022-2023: Your word is a lamp for my feet and light for my path by Martin Hogan and published by Messenger Publications 2022, c/f www.messenger.ie/bookshop/