March 24

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Mass Readings

Featured Saints

The Blessed in Heaven’, detail of
‘The Final Judgement’, by Fra Angelico –
San Marco Museum, Florence (Italy)

St. Mac Cairthinn, bishop(†fifth century). He governed the Diocese of Clogher, Ireland, and is believed to be a disciple of St. Patrick.

Sts. Timolaus, Dionysius, Pausis, Romulus, Alexander and companions, martrys (+303). Unwilling to deny their Faith, they were beheaded during the Diocletian persecution.

St. Catherine of Sweden, virgin (†1381). Daughter of St. Bridget. She married a Swedish noble and both made a vow to live in perfect chastity. At forty-four years of age she entered the monastery of Vadstena, where she was elected abbess.

Blessed Diego José of Cádiz, priest (†1801). Priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin of Andalusia, an intrepid defender of the Church’s liberty.

Blessed John del Bastone, monk and priest (†1290). Disciple of St. Sylvester; he lived for sixty years in a small cell in the hermitage of Montefano (Italy).

Blessed Maria Serafina of the Sacred Heart, virgin (†1911). Founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Angels, adorers of the Blessed Trinity in Caserta, Italy.

Blessed Maria Karlowska, virgin (†1935). Foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd of Divine Providence in Pniewite, Poland, to bring girls and young women of dissolute life back to the dignity of being daughters of God. 

Mass Readings

First Reading – Dn 3:14-20, 91-92, 95

King Nebuchadnezzar said: “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, 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 had made, whenever you hear the sound of the  trumpet, flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe, and all the other musical instruments; otherwise, you shall be instantly cast into the white-hot furnace; and who is the God who can deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, 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 that you set up.”

King Nebuchadnezzar’s face became livid with utter rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual and had some of the strongest men in his army bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
and cast them into the white-hot furnace.

Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” “Assuredly, O king,” they answered. “But,” he replied, “I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.” Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him; they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god
except their own God.”

Responsorial Psalm – Dn 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56 (R.52b)

R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.” R.

“Blessed are You in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever. R.

“Blessed are You on the throne of your kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.” R.

“Blessed are You who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim;
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.” R.

“Blessed are You in the firmament of heaven,
praiseworthy and glorious forever.” R.

Gospel – Jn 8:31-42

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in Him,
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
They answered Him, “We are descendants of Abraham
and have never been enslaved to anyone.
How can You say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever,
but a son always remains.
So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.
I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill Me,
because my word has no room among you.
I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;
then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to Him, “Our father is Abraham.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children,
you would be doing the works of Abraham.
But now you are trying to kill Me,
a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;
Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!”
So they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication.
We have one Father, God.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me,
for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but He sent Me.”


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