FIRST READING: Daniel 3: 14 - 20, 91 - 92, 95
14 King Nebuchadnezzar questioned them: "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you will not serve my god, or worship the golden statue that I set up?
15 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 that can deliver you out of my hands?"
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, "There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter.
17 If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us!
18 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."
19 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
20 and had some of the strongest men in his army bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and cast them into thewhite-hot furnace.
91 King Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles, "Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?" "Assuredly, O king," they answered.
92 "But," he replied, "I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God."
95 Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants that trusted in him; they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
PSALM: Daniel 3: 52 - 56
52 "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.
53 Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory, praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.
54 Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
55 Blessed are you who look into the depths from your throne upon the cherubim, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
56 Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven, praiseworthy and glorious forever.
GOSPEL: John 8: 31 - 42
31 Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples,
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
33 They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, `You will be made free'?"
34 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin.
35 The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever.
36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
37 I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me, because my word finds no place in you.
38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father."
39 They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do what Abraham did,
40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did.
41 You do what your father did." They said to him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God."
42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.