First reading Daniel 3:14-20,24-25,28

God has sent his angel to rescue his servants

King Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘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 the 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.’
 
 

Responsorial Daniel 3:52-56

To you glory and praise for evermore.
 
You are blest, Lord God of our fathers.
 
Blest your glorious holy name.
 
You are blest in the temple of your glory.
 
You are blest on the throne of your kingdom.
 
You are blest who gaze into the depths.
 
You are blest in the firmament of heaven.
 
 

Gospel John 8:31-42

If the Son makes you free, you will be free 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.’
 
 
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The joy of belonging

“Now a slave has no permanent standing in the household, but a son belongs to it forever”. Have you ever been with people who made you feel at home? Many of us would think of our family with whom we can be ourselves, and they love us despite our irritating habits. We also have good friends with whom we can share our joys and sadness, and they accept us but dare to challenge us to change for the better.
 
In today’s gospel, Jesus calls us to remember who we are: sons and daughters of God. The sense of being at home with family and close friends is what we have with God. We belong to God. We have a place in His house, His heart. There, we can be ourselves, we can be happy and cry, we can make mistakes and find forgiveness. As His children, we belong in His heart forever and are unconditionally loved. In moments when we struggle with loneliness, being misunderstood or fear about the future, let us go back to God. There, we are home today and forever.
 
Reflection question:
How do I live out my belongingness to God?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year B” by Sr Maria Jose FMVD.