Elijah’s Whisper – My Whisper

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Elijah’s Whisper – My Whisper

Bubbles2 Then the LORD said (to Elijah), “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.”  A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD – but the LORD was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake – but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire – but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.  When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?” 1 Kings 19:11-13

Why are YOU here, beloved?

Was it to discover magnificent colors? Was it to find colorful music or awesome videos? Was it just curiosity? Was it accidental? Were you really looking for God, for Hope, for true LOVE somewhere in this menagerie we call the web?

silenceOr were you just hiding in a cave, waiting on the Lord to Whisper in your ear – a Word – LIFE! Life, it’s in You! And YOU are beautiful in the Eyes of God, no matter what the world may say or think.

You are Loved!!

Every day the Lord whispers in our ears – Words of HOPE, Words of LOVE, and maybe not even words – just His JOY in our hearts.

Let’s follow the Scriptures of our daily Mass and see if we can catch those Words – simple but beautiful – Whispers to the Wind . . .

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10-23-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 23, 2019
(St. John of Capistrano, Priest)
Continuing on His theme of vigilance, preparedness and righteousness, Jesus’ parable of the faithful and prudent steward today ends:  “That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly.  Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”  Lk_12:39-48

Jesus speaks today, of the requirements and the demands of being God’s servants.  And He tells us that there will be no slackers!

By our baptisms, beloved, we have become those servants.  We may be ignorant of ALL of the requirements of the Old and New Testaments and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but, at the very least, we are aware of God’s call to love one another.  And yet, Jesus tells us that ignorance does not get us off the hook, allowing us to get away with hatred, when we know that we’re supposed to love – or at least not hate.  This is the Law that God wrote in every one of our hearts.

On the other hand, if we’ve grown anywhere beyond our infant baptism in the Church, we are now called to even greater responsibilities.  We are called to help our fellow humanity in their needs (Christian or not).  We are called to teach others the meaning of God’s love, and how it helps us all to feel better about ourselves.  And we are called to avoid sin.

Now that last one may be a little more difficult, because out there in the world there is a whole army devoted to tripping us up into sin.  Hatred and revenge fill our movie and TV plots.  The news is filled with all the evil in the world.  Evil that sparks more hatred in our hearts, even to the extreme of our displeasure with the weather and naturally occuring events.  We become so over-sensitized to everything that is not exactly to our liking that absolutely nothing is EVER to our liking.

You see, that hatred is the root and cause of our – not only hating inanimate objects and conditions, but then, even our own brothers and sisters who, by no cause of their own, are a little different from us.

We may blame our anger and hatred and dissatisfaction with everything, on our human nature, but that is not the nature that God has imbued in our souls.  And we can know that, with absolute certainty, by the battle that rages within us when we have those bitter feelings, those sins.

You see, nobody needs to beat us up, whether lightly or severely, because of our divergence from God’s Law of Love, we do it ourselves.  And it hurts a lot more when we know we’re doing wrong, than when we’re not aware of it.  And even if we’re not aware of our wrong-doing, we’ll find out soon enough through its consequences.

So, how do we escape that world of enticement to sin?  Well, thanks be to God for His love, in sending Jesus, who redeems us.  And thanks be to God for Jesus, sending the Holy Spirit to guide us in righteousness.  And thanks be to God for His Church, who leads us in prayer, in knowledge, and in holiness through the Sacraments.  Jesus never said that this worldly life would be easy.  God knows, it wasn’t easy for Him.  But, thanks be to God, as Catholic Christians we can not only make the best of it, but we can make it better for those who have yet to know Him.

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10-22-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 22, 2019
(St. John Paul II, Pope)
Jesus said, “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.”  Lk_12:35-38

Our constant reminder of vigilance.  Jesus reminds us, pleads with us and warns us to always remain faithful to the Gospel of Life.  And we do that by keeping God’s commandments, loving one another and doing everything with a thankful heart.  And when Jesus returns for His final harvest, we WILL be ready!

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10-21-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 21, 2019
Jesus said, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” . . .  And to the wealthy, greedy one He said ‘this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”  Lk_12:13-21

If we think that all there is to life is merely what we see and physically have in the now, then, we’re greatly missing the big picture, beloved.

If we were to consider the time of the entire span of our life as a distance, it might extend from here to all the way around the world (though it would actually be much farther, infinity).   And in that case, the physical, birth-to-death portion of that life would be less than the span of a grain of sand.  And within the time of that grain of sand we have been graced by God to make the decision, the choice, as to whether we want the rest of that globe’s time span of ours to be with God or not.

If we choose it to be with Him, then we’ll recognize the insignificance of worldly pleasures and possessions in comparison to the eternal joy we gain by bringing Christ’s love to others, regardless of any sacrifice or cost, in this short, grain of sand time span of our physical now!

May His peace and love be with you always, beloved!

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10-20-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 20, 2019
(29th Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.  2_Tm_3:14-4:2

Jesus said, “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Lk_18:1-8

It’s up to us, beloved, to see that He does!

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10-19-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 19, 2019
(St. John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs)
Brothers and sisters:  It was not through the law that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants that he would inherit the world, but through the righteousness that comes from faith.  Rom_4:13,16-18

Faith LEADS to righteousness!  When we believe in Jesus with all our hearts and minds and souls, then all we do will reflect that belief, that love.  And our Faith and good works, just like Abraham, will lead to our salvation, through Jesus who loves us!

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10-18-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 18, 2019
(St. Luke, Evangelist)
St. Paul wrote, At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me.  May it not be held against them!  But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it.  2_Tm_4:10-17b

Jesus sent His disciples out on a mission to preach the Good News to all who would hear, and said, “Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.'”  Lk_10:1-9

Jesus sent his disciples out on a mission to spread the Good News of God’s love.  But it was by no means a haphazard commissioning.  The disciples were trained and sent specifically to those towns that Jesus had planned on visiting.

It was a highly effective advertising campaign.  And by the time Jesus reached those towns, the people were not only open to hearing what Jesus had to say, but they were excited and motivated to learn more.  It was the beginning of a world-wide network of training and evangelization schools.

From “the 12,” and from “the 72,” and from those who would follow in their footsteps, the whole world would learn of the loving mercy of God and what His Plan IS for every one of them.

Of course, as we’ve seen, and as we know by experience, there are always those who will obstinately refuse to listen or believe.  And St. Paul was one of them.  But His story teaches us that even the obstinate can be converted.  And more often than not, it is that tough convert who is the most zealous and fearless of teachers.

St. Paul told Christ’s story of life and hope at the risk and at the actual cost, of great peril to his own life.  And he made that cost well known through his letters.  From beatings, to imprisonment to shipwreck, abandonment, isolation and eventually even martyrdom, Paul would proclaim that Good News more like the wolf than the lamb.  But like the wolf who was out to devour Souls for their own Salvation, instead of as flesh for his own self-preservation.

And then there was Luke.  By no means short on his own challenges with persecution, Dr. Luke was more like the lamb who preferred the intellectual, ordered and structured evangelization-style of a written record of the life and times of Jesus.

Thus, we have the Third Gospel, the Gospel of Luke, which begins as an instructional letter to his dear protege, Theophilus, a lover of God.

You see, there really are many different styles of evangelization.  But they all have the point of showing the world that there is more to life than just cell phones and pocketbooks.  There is more to life than just power and fame.

God has a Plan for every one of us.

And it’s a Plan of LOVE!

And Jesus shows us exactly how it works, with the help of the Holy Spirit, our Gospels, and our Church.

You see, brothers and sisters, somewhere deep within every one of us, there’s a Story.  And once we get beyond the muck and the fires, and the earthquakes, there’s also something very Beautiful.  And in the beauty, when we look close enough, there we’ll find our Jesus.  And there’s the Story that we’ve been personally blessed to share, just like Paul, and just like Luke.  It’s our Gift, and it’s God’s Plan that we use it to bring His light and love into the world.  And THAT’s the Kingdom we seek!

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10-17-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 17, 2019
(St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr)
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication.  If you, O LORD, mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand?  But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered.  I trust in the LORD; my soul trusts in his word.  My soul waits for the LORD more than sentinels wait for the dawn.  Ps_130

Our hope rests in the Lord, who is our light and our salvation.  Only in God is there mercy and forgiveness and fullness of redemption.  For we are born and burdened down in our sin and our downfall lies always before us.  But you O God are there to pick us up, even from the depths of the pit.  We savor Your kindness and we hope in your salvation, for we are humble of heart and loving of all Your Creation.  Thanks be to God our Father for the Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and for all of Your boundless Love!

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10-16-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 16, 2019
(St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin)
Jesus said: “Woe to you Pharisees! . . .  Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”  And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!  You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.” Lk_11:42-46

Hmmmm, we should never prod a growling bear, never buzz a fly-swatting human and never judge a judging Lord.  Rather than attacking in self-defense those who judge, or rashly accuse someone of an offense, we should look inside and, as Jesus said yesterday, “cleanse the inside of the cup first.” The Lord will eventually judge all.  So unless we are willing to correct others purely for the sake of their own salvation, we should keep our differences to ourselves and just try to be as holy as we can be ourselves.   Most times a lesson is learned much better by example than by direction or rebuke!   Follow Jesus!

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10-15-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 15, 2019
(St. Teresa of Avila, Virgin and Doctor of the Church)
St. Paul wrote, “Brothers and sisters: I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes”  Rom_1:16-25

The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.  Heb_4:12

Our call, beloved, to fall in love with the Gospel!  Jesus is our life, and how can we have that unless we know Him intimately!

Today Jesus tells us, “give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.”  Lk_11:37-41

. . . For it is in the spirit of Giving and Thanksgiving that we will become One with Him and one another!  And our hearts will revel in His JOY!

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10-14-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 14, 2019
Jesus said, “At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”  Lk_11:29-32

Yes, Lord, we have offended you.  Please forgive us and we will change our ways.  We will LOVE.  We will put away hatred.  We will calm down and listen and give and thank!  Yes, Nineveh we hear you.  Yes Jesus we hear you and we promise by your grace to REPENT!

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10-13-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 13, 2019
(28th Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of Elisha, the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean of his leprosy.

Naaman said: “. . . please let me, your servant, have two mule loads of earth, for I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any other god except to the LORD.”  2_Kgs_5:14-17

St. Paul said, “Beloved: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David: such is my gospel, for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal.  But the word of God is not chained.” 2_Tm_2:8-13

Of ten lepers whom Jesus healed, one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan.  Lk_17:11-19

People sometimes ask me, “Where are you from?”  It’s an interesting question, because for some people, and I’m one of them, it’s difficult to give the exact WHERE – without the WHEN, since we’ve lived in many different places over the years.

And yet, the answer to that question also depends on where – it was asked.  From anywhere BUT Columbia, my answer is usually, “Columbia, Missouri,” since we’ve lived here for the past 30-years.  But if someone asked me that same question in the back of Church, it would be a little tougher to answer, because I can take them on a journey across half the country.

On the other hand, if you were to ask one of my 5th Graders where THEY came from, you would get the immediate response: “That I came from God and my parents;” which is really, the same answer, that any one of us can give.

And IF we’re ALL from God and our parents, then it doesn’t matter if we are physically from New Jersey or Tokyo, from Islamabad or El Salvador: we are all related!  And we are all family!

But what bounces around in these little brains and hearts of ours, that’s another story.

You see the secret to a happy existence in this Life of ours, where-ever else we may be from, is always keeping that Relationship between God and ALL of us in the forefront of our thoughts.  We are ALL from God, with a little help from our parents!

Now, if we look at just that little, telescopic, snapshot, in the middle of the Naaman Story, that we heard in our First Reading today, we will have missed the point that this man, Naaman, was NOT from around there!

As a matter of fact, not only was Naaman from across enemy lines, but he was considered a highly successful Commander of the Army – that devastated Israel.

And when this foreign, enemy Commander approached the King of Israel for a favor, the King was so distraught, that he literally tore his clothes off.  It was a sign of total surrender and fear, even though the guy was hopelessly covered with leprous sores.

It just makes us ponder, brothers and sisters: How do WE respond to that unexpected stranger?  How do we respond to the homeless guy or gal who parks their backpack on the front doorstep of our Church, for some overnight shelter, at what they think is a “safe place?”  Do we tear our clothes in fear, like the King? Do we sneer in anger or disgust and chase them away, like an unwanted fly?  Or do we welcome that foreign stranger, just as Jesus would have; or just as the Prophet Elisha DID with Naaman, the Syrian leper?

You see, Naaman’s whole reason for making this, pretty risky trip into HIS enemy territory, was all based on a recommendation that he heard from a little Israelite girl, whom HE had captured, separated from her family and enslaved, years earlier.  You see, Naaman didn’t want to BE there, any more than they didn’t want him there.  But, for the reward of a healing, Naaman felt that it was well worth the risk.

And when he finally got to his destination, to the place of his redemption, he was told, by a Messenger, and not even Elisha himself, to perform this ludicrous act of plunging himself into the dirty, muddy water of the Jordan River.

It was the absolute limit of his humiliation tolerance.  Yet, there he was just minutes away from the most magnificent experience of his entire life, and he almost missed it!

You know, sometimes we just have to surrender to the ludicrous to experience the Extraordinary!

Well, we all heard the rest of the Naaman story.  Not only was he cured, but he was totally converted to Faith in the God of Israel.  Naaman was SO converted, that, thinking Elisha’s God resided only there, in the Land of Israel, he wanted to take some of Israel’s ‘God-infused-dirt’ back home to dwell with him in Syria.

You know, I’m one of those junk collectors.  And I’ve got sand from Dubai, volcanic rock from Hawaii, seashells from Florida and petrified wood from my parents honeymoon (all legal).  But none of those souvenirs holds a candle to the Holy Dirt  that Naaman was after!

And how could Elisha take that gesture as anything other than extraordinary thanksgiving,  even though he knew that God really resides in all of our hearts, no matter where – WE ARE FROM.

All Naaman needed now, was a little Catechesis.  And he had the perfect little girl to teach him.  A little girl captured by evil, but sent by God, just like St. Paul, in chains!

St. Paul tells his disciple Timothy and us today, that “the Word of God is NOT chained.”  It’s not chained to a place or an economy.  It’s not chained to a ritual, or a culture, or a language, or a race.  God’s love and grace have absolutely NO bounds, save for what WE refuse to accept, just like Naaman almost did.

Which brings us to the ten Galilean and Samaritan lepers of our Gospel.  Like Naaman, they were all hopelessly cursed with an incurable and totally debilitating skin disease.  And like Naaman, the Samaritan leper was not only a foreigner, but an enemy to the Jews.

So when Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priest, as was the Jewish custom, the Samaritan was torn  as to WHERE to go.  He wasn’t a Jew, so he couldn’t present himself to their priests.  And his own Samaritan priests would just shun him for even speaking with Jesus, who WAS a Jew.

And yet, his healing was SO very REAL. It was real enough to make him want to shout in glory to God . . . Somewhere, somewhere!  Where ARE You From, Oh God of my salvation?

Well, just like the Messenger that Elisha sent to bring healing to Naaman; a messenger who embodied the very spirit of Elisha, who embodied the very Spirit of God, God, Himself sent HIS Messenger, in human flesh, who IS the very Spirit of God, this Jesus, to bring healing to us.

And just like Naaman, that “healed,” Samaritan leper realized exactly that!  And he bowed down in worship and Thanksgiving . . .
– to the God who loves – even the foreigner;
– to the God who saves – even the lost;
– and to the God who lives, not somewhere beyond the clouds, but right there in our own hearts!

As we come to His altar today, in Thanksgiving, in Eucharistia, for every breath we take, we remember our world-wide family.

And we remember exactly WHERE we are
ALL – really – FROM.

jmp 10-13-19

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10-12-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 12, 2019
Jesus said, “.. blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”  Lk_11:27-28

And the Angels sang . . .

– “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
– Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
– Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
– Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
– Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
– Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
– Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
– Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  
– Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”  Mt_5:3-12

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10-11-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 11, 2019
(St. John XXIII, Pope)
The Prophet Joel said,  “Proclaim a fast, call an assembly; Gather the elders, all who dwell in the land, Into the house of the LORD, your God, and cry to the LORD!  Alas, the day! For near is the day of the LORD, and it comes as ruin from the Almighty.  Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all who dwell in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming;”  Jl_1:13-15;2:1-2

Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house.”  . . .  “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”  Lk_11:15-26

Judgment, Accusation, Condemnation and Annihilation . . .

After a week of hearing about God’s mercy and forgiveness, about prayer, and persistence, and belief, today ‘the rubber hits the road’ as we hear about the consequences of disbelief and rebellion against God, and about the urgency and importance of being prepared.

The writings of the Prophet Joel, that we heard in our First Reading, were especially somber, as Israel, at the time, was under a devastating siege of locusts and life itself was literally ‘in the balance.’

But it was a good reminder of our own need to always be on the alert against both Physical and Spiritual attacks on our lives.

Physically, being prepared for things like fires and earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes, or even direct violence against us.

And Spiritually, being prepared for attacks on our Faith, just as Jesus was attacked, by the skeptics, the Pharisees, and the unbelievers.

After preaching love, healing incurable sicknesses, and expelling demons, the accusation that Jesus was working with Beelzebul or Satan, made absolutely NO sense.  And Jesus made that obviously clear in His rebuttal.

Anyone, whether it’s a government or a corporation, or a family, or even our own internal, psychological condition, IF it’s fighting against itself, it will NEVER stand.

And it’s in the weaknesses of those struggles against one’s self, that nations and corporations, families and We are most vulnerable.  Without a moral compass, without a strong leader, without authority, and consequence, and urgency, an empty soul will simply be filled with all the evil the world has to offer.

And it’s only by the Grace of God that WE, as Catholic Christians can recognize our Creator and Redeemer and Sanctifier as filling all of those needs.

Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me.

You see, beloved, when we are with Jesus, both here in community and out there in the world, we ARE that moral compass, that strong leader, that reminder of the importance, the consequence and the urgency of Faith in God, just as Joel and all the Prophets were!

We are God’s messengers, sent to save a world, lost in its own emptiness.  And we can be very proud of that Mission.  It may not always be easy.  It will take prayer, persistence and strong belief, even in the face of opposition, but for the reward of eternal salvation, for the sake of saving souls from eternal damnation, and for the joy of living life, filled with the Holy Spirit, both now and forever – it’s well worth it!

As we come to His Table of Life today, allow the Lord Jesus to immerse us in the Joy of being ONE with Him. And let that Joy-in-us be a light to guide our entire day!

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10-10-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 10, 2019
Jesus told His disciples a parable about a neighbor who was reluctant to help his friend in need.  He concluded, “I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.” 

He continued, “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. . . .  What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?” Lk_11:5-13

In his rebuke against the wickedness of the nation, the Prophet Malachi noted, ‘Then they who fear the LORD spoke with one another, and the LORD listened attentively;  And a record book was written before him of those who fear the LORD and trust in his name. And they shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, my own special possession, on the day I take action.‘  Mal_3:13-20b

Continuing in answer to His disciples request, yesterday, to teach them how to pray, Jesus, today, speaks of the need for persistence in their prayer and belief that their prayers will be effective.

Of course, when WE pray, we always throw in that caveat, “If it be God’s will.”  But you know what?  Most of the time that’s just our excuse to say that we DON’T really, truly honestly – BELIEVE!  It’s our scapegoat to give us someone to blame if it doesn’t go – just our way.  We say, “It must not have been God’s will: that so-and-so died, that so-and-so got cancer, that I didn’t win the lottery this week.”

So let’s cut out that, “If it be God’s will” piece, and go all the way back to what we’re actually asking for and why.  And to do that, we might first ask ourselves:  Is this prayer just for our own personal satisfaction, or is it for the good of the community, the good of the needy, the good of the world?

Is it something we really NEED, or do we already have it and are just not making good use of it, like the increase in faith, the disciples asked for in Sunday’s Gospel.  If you remember, Jesus never really told them how to increase their faith.  But He did tell them that they already had more faith than they even realized, and they were not even using a mustard seed’s worth of it.  So, we don’t really need to pray for what we already have.  And we really do have QUITE a bit.

And then, we might consider: Are we asking for the snake and the scorpion, instead of the fish and the egg?  Jesus didn’t say that the Father would give his child the snake!  And yet, look at all the snakes we give to our children and our grandchildren, and even ourselves.  The stores are filled with them!

You see, maybe the key to belief in answered prayer is asking the right things from the very start.  And equally, if not more important, is recognizing when they’re answered, and then giving thanks!

A wise man once said, “For every one Ask – there should be nine Thanks.”  And if we’ve got toes, that should be 19 – Thank you’s.

It was exactly this aspect of prayer that the first Israelites who returned to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile, missed.  Because in their freedom, they totally forgot the God who saved them.  And it took an anonymous ‘Messenger,’ who called himself Malachi, to remind them that they were lucky they even had 19 fingers and toes, let alone a place to call Home, only BECAUSE of the God who Loved them, and Blessed them, and Set them apart from the wicked.

You see, God is not our scapegoat for a lost gambling ticket.

And God is not the blame for anyone’s timely or untimely death.

And God is not the answer to why there’s evil in the world.

But He is our comfort, despite it all!  He is our fear, that keeps us in line.  And He is our Blessing and our Hope and our Salvation.

If we were to pray to God for ONE thing: From the Prophet Malachi’s words today, we should be praying for more Fear and Respect of God’s Holy Name in the world.

For the truly greatest Fear of all Creation is – Eternal Life without God!

And WE can give thanks to Jesus and to the Holy Spirit for freeing us from that calamity, when we truly and persistently BELIEVE!

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10-09-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 9, 2019
(St. Denis, Bishop and Companions, Martyrs)
The disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”  Lk_11:1-4

God said to Jonah, “Have you reason to be angry over the plant?” “I have reason to be angry,” Jonah answered, “angry enough to die.”  Then the LORD said, “You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor and which you did not raise; it came up in one night and in one night it perished. And should I not be concerned over Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot distinguish their right hand from their left, not to mention the many cattle?”  Jon_4:1-11

God has a plan for every one of us.  And Jonah was having a little bit of a hard time understanding it.

Ever get to the end of your rope, beloved, ready to cash in your chips and be done with it all?

And then there are those Christians, smiling at us all the time, even though we know they’re poor, even though we know they’re suffering.  And we just have to wonder: How do they do it?  And why are they always pouring cold water over all my fiery anger, over all my self-pity?

Well, Jonah thought he was doing all the right things; and that he had a perfectly valid reason for every little thing he did.  But he never realized that his train was on the wrong tracks, that his reasoning was flawed, and that there was another side to his one-sided picture of life.

You see, Jonah felt that God called him to do the impossible.  And he knew that he couldn’t fight God, so instead, he fled.  And in His flight, Jonah learned that there really IS no place that anyone can ever hide from God.  In his epic poem, Francis Thompson called our Omnipresent God, “The Hound of Heaven.”

And yet, if we truly are seeking a hiding place from God; and if we feel that God has become the enemy of all of our self righteousness, then, just maybe, we’re the ones needing His mercy and forgiveness.

Maybe WE are the ones who need to remember the repentance part of the Lord’s Prayer – about ‘forgiving us – as we forgive others.’

And maybe we’re the ones who need to be seeing the world in a little different light, just like Jonah, in God’s light and not our own.

Sure there are times when the world really does seem to be crashing down upon us.  But those are the times when we also need to put on our Christian smiley faces.  Those are the times we need to pray a little harder, to sing a little louder, and to read a little deeper about the boundless love and mercy of our God.

Yes, God has a plan for every one of us.

And Jesus has shown us a way, that not even death can block.

The Bishop, St. Denis held his head up high, even after it was severed from his body, because he knew that beyond the door of death, there is a Kingdom awaiting every one of us, . . .

when we remain faithful
to God’s plan of love.

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10-08-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 8, 2019
The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”  . . .  When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out. Jon_3:1-10

Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.  She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”   Lk_10:38-42

Oh, if only life was as simple and as pleasant as sitting at the feet of Jesus, with no worries and no cares.  But thanks be to God, He gave us siblings and neighbors as our gifts of variety and excitement.  Unfortunately, their thoughts, and actions, and philosophies are not always quite the same as ours.  As a matter of fact, some of them can be downright unjust.

And so, God, through His Old Testament stories, and Jesus, through His real-life examples and His awesome parables, teach us how to deal with those issues of social justice.  And through them, we learn about our own human nature, and we learn about the place of fear and judgment in how to survive it all.

You see, just yesterday we saw how Jonah took flight out of his fear of both the Lord and his arch-enemy, Nineveh.  And just like Adam and Eve, that act of disobedience against God’s will, resulted in some pretty dire consequences for Jonah.

Then, today, recognizing the almighty power and mercy of God towards him, Jonah reluctantly resigned himself to obeying God.  And, you know what, it really was quite a daunting assignment that Jonah was charged with.  We might equate it to walking through socialist, North Korea, insisting that they all become Catholic.

You see, Jonah knew about God’s mercy and he also thought he knew about the nature of those Ninevites.  But it was still a gamble.  If the Ninevites refused to change, which Jonah expected they would, this episode just might BE the end of them.  It would be Jonah’s, or actually, Israel’s sweet revenge, through God.  And even though it might cost Jonah his very life, that, to him, would be worth it.

But IF, with 99:1 odds against it ever happening, the Ninevites actually repented.  Then Jonah felt that he would end up being the embarrassed loser, because he was personally, very familiar with God’s merciful forgiveness.  And he knew that those Ninevites would have gotten away with all of the evil of their past.

You see, it was one of those very deep social justice issues.

And whenever we pit the act of revenge against God’s mercy, we’ve learned through the ages, that revenge always loses in the end, whether it’s a simple consequence of the act or through a miraculous conversion, as was the case with Nineveh.

Mercy always wins and revenge loses.

And, you know what, God’s miracles still happen, even today.  Who’d have ever imagined an end to communism in Russia almost 30-years ago, if you’d lived through those Cold War decades?

Who’d have ever imagined a US President or a Missouri Governor who didn’t support abortion?

Or, cures for cancers?

Or, a Church full of faithful Catholics at a simple Communion Service?

Sure we still have our faults and our enemies, our fears and our hesitations.  But thanks be to God for His mercy.  And thanks be to Jesus for teaching us that we CAN be – just as merciful, even when, like Martha, we might feel like we’re the only ones doing all the work! . . .

God loves us no matter what!
And so should we!

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10-07-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 7, 2019
(Our Lady of the Rosary)
.. the LORD sent a large fish, that swallowed Jonah; and Jonah remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. From the belly of the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD, his God. Then the LORD commanded the fish to spew Jonah upon the shore.  Jon_1:1–2:1-2,11

Salvation.  Mercy.  The prefiguring of our Lord’s 3-days in the belly of the earth before His resurrection.  And where was all that to lead?  It was to lead to OUR salvation, when we repent and turn back to God, just as it did for the repentant Ninevites, as we’ll hear tomorrow.  Listen to Jesus, beloved!  He IS our salvation and our life!

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10-06-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 6, 2019
(27th Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
Jesus said, “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'”  Lk_17:5-10

In response to Jesus’ disciples’ request to increase their faith, Jesus responds with an allegory about a master’s gratitude for servant doing his duty.  Faith is a gift from God, and God will give it as He pleases.  It is not for us to ask for more.  We are to use the faith we have, which Jesus tells us is way more than we can even fathom.  It’s up to us to rely on it, to use it and to be thankful for it.  In the meantime, we do what we are “obliged” to do: keeping His commandments, loving one another and God with all our hearts, minds and souls!  God will do the rest!

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10-05-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 5, 2019
(St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, Religious)
( Divine Mercy and the Bible Story – Part 1, Part 2 )
The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”  Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.  Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”  Lk_10:17-24

God’s immeasurable love gives us the power to “save” the world, just like those disciples.  Share His mercy, beloved, and dwell in it forever.  For Jesus came not to save the righteous, but all of us sinners!  What better reason to rejoice!!!

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10-04-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 4, 2019
(St. Francis of Assisi)
St. Paul wrote, “Brothers and sisters: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Gal_6:14-18

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Mt_11:25-30

When we look at the lives of people like St. Paul and St. Francis, it might seem like there’s a contradiction in this statement, that we just heard from Jesus, about an “easy yoke” and a “light burden,” because their lives were pretty far from easy!  And it might make us wonder if it’s ever easy to suffer for a cause that has an invisible destination.

Was it easy for Jesus, Himself, to battle with the hard-hearted and the hard-headed; to take their curses, and their beatings, and their crucifixion?

Was it easy for St. Paul or St. Francis to start up new congregations with principles that were so very different from those of the world, or really, for anyone who was martyred for their faith?

Was it easy for St. Paul, or St. Francis, or Jesus, or actually, any one of us to endure a “Lost Love,” whether it was from an infant Church, or a follower, or a disciple, or a child, or even a spouse?

You see, it really is there, in the physical and spiritual pain of the world that we truly discover this “yoke” of Jesus.  It’s in the humility, the meekness, and the child-like faith, that we realize: It’s ONLY with and in God, that Love can never be lost.  And it’s RIGHT THERE – that we discover those “Train Tracks” of life.

St. Paul found them in a blinding light and a bruised ego.  St. Francis found them in a useless sword, in a helpless leper, and in a dark, dank prison cell.  And it’s right there, and only there, in the light of Jesus, that we can discern the Railroad Tracks from the Crosstie Beams.

You see, life in the world, as we all know, is a lot different from life in the Faith.  We might compare it to two Trains, one riding ON the tracks and one OFF.

Both trains have to go through long, dark tunnels.  Both trains have to cross scary, high and narrow bridges.  Both have to cross paths with low, swooping birds and lazy, inattentive cows.  And both have to deal with stowaways and vagabonds . . .  Freeloaders who don’t contribute, but still add weight to a long and treacherous journey.

Now, the train that’s ON the tracks will find its travel smooth and level.  But the train that’s OFF the tracks will have to constantly deal with rocks and mud, bumps and pits.

The train that’s ON the track has a clear and definite destination, and it doesn’t even have to watch very carefully where it’s going, because the tracks know the way.  While the OFF-Track train will find itself facing constant diversions and distractions that make it very easy to lose its way.

And even though both trains have heavy burdens to bear, it’s a lot easier to stay-the-course ON the tracks, than OFF.

You see, just like the child who knows, in Faith, exactly where her next meal will come from, so, our Faith will keep us On-track, no matter how many tunnels, or cows, or bridges we have to face.

And to help us on our journey, besides the Holy Spirit, we have real-life people like St. Francis, people who endured real-life problems, just like us, all for that same invisible, but Faith-driven destination – of an Eternal Life – of Joy and Peace with God!  And it’s the easy yoke, the light burden, and the ON-Track train that will get us there.

Chug-a, Chug-a,
Toot, Toot!
Thank you, Jesus!

Amen!

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10-03-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 3, 2019
Jesus sent the seventy-two off on mission saying, “Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.” Lk_10:1-12

God’s peace will not rest on a person who chooses not to accept it.  All we can do is offer it.  But we are not to allow its refusal to serve as a burden to us.  God’s peace will return to us and we are called to shake their dust off our feet.  They and their dust will remain in their state of ‘un-peacefulness’ until they choose to turn toward the Lord!  Those are the ones, beloved, whom we pray for.  We pray for their conversion.  We pray for their awakening.  We pray for their eternal lives!

May God’s peace and the love of Jesus, rest upon you, beloved, all the days of your life!

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10-02-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 2, 2019
(Holy Guardian Angels)
Jesus said, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” Mt_18:1-5,10

Guardian angel dear, my hope and my fear, comfort me when the world weighs too heavily upon my shoulders, lift me when my feet become too tired to bear life’s weight, enlighten me when my foe’s arguments are beyond my understanding, protect me from the stones and arrows of my enemies, and keep me always under your wing, reminding me of my mighty, strong, merciful and loving Father.  In Jesus’ Name I pray!

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10-01-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

October 1, 2019
(St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church)
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.  Lk_9:51-56

What could possibly cause us, beloved, to not welcome the stranger.  Is it the hat he wears, the color of her skin, the car he drives or the accent of his speech?  They excluded and rejected the King of Glory, the Creator of the universe, because He was traveling to a city they disliked.  Oh, how sad we become when we let such petty differences separate us.  God wants us all to be welcoming, to be open to others – no matter who they are.  It’s just a good check on our own attitudes.  Remember Jesus and let His love overwhelm us with love for our brothers and sisters.  And then, think of the smile on God’s face for what we’ve allowed – Kindness!

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09-30-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

September 30, 2019
(St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus took a child and placed it by his side and said to them (His disciples), “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” Lk_9:46-50

How hard we try, beloved, to be great in someone else’s eyes:  to make the grade, to win the race, to get our name in lights!  But it’s all, as the writer of Proverbs says, it’s all dust in the wind.  We really don’t have to make ourselves Anything!  God has already done the work.  All we have to do is just be the best us we can.  Whether that’s a trash collector or a CEO.  God knows our hearts.  And when those hearts are purely centered on ourselves, it doesn’t matter how great we think we are.  All God wants is for us to care for Him and for ALL his other children, and especially those in most need of His (and our) love!

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09-29-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

September 29, 2019
(26th Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.  Cf._2_Cor_8:9 Alleluia Verse

When the deceased, rich man (in hell), of Jesus’ parable, pleaded with Abraham to send the poor Lazarus to warn his brothers of the terror of hell, and Abraham replied that he would not, the rich man responded, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’  Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'”  Lk_16:19-31

Our forewarning!
Listen!

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09-28-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

September 28, 2019
Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.  Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day, and they shall be his people and he will dwell among you.  Zec_2:5-9,14-15a

Our Savior Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.  See_2_Tm_1:10  Alleluia Verse

And He came among us and we recognized Him not.  And He destroyed death and brought life.  Can we see Him now?

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09-27-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

September 27, 2019
(St. Vincent de Paul, Priest)
Greater will be the future glory of this house than the former, says the LORD of hosts;  And in this place I will give you peace, says the LORD of hosts!  Hg_2:1-9

As the LORD is predicting the greatness of the ‘resurrected,’ reconstructed Temple after its original destruction and the Israelites 70-years of Babylonian exile, so Jesus is predicting the greatness of His resurrected body after His rejection and assassination by the religious leaders.

Jesus said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”  Lk_9:18-22

And in that resurrection God will give us peace.  The peace of His merciful love.  The peace and hope of our union with Jesus forever.  So it was said, and so it shall be done!

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09-26-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

September 26, 2019
(Ss. Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs)
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father except through me.”  Jn_14:6

. . . while the Father is anxiously awaiting us!

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09-25-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

September 25, 2019
Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.  He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.  Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.”  Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.  Lk_9:1-6

There’s an old saying that goes: “Like attracts like.”  It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but for the most part, it’s generally true.

If we go about grumbling and complaining all the time, we’ll find that usually what we hear back is grumbling and complaining, because people generally don’t want an argument, and everyone has something they can complain about.

But, IF, on the other hand, we seek out, and find, and talk about all the Good things in our world, then it’s usually goodness that comes back to us.

And when it’s not, we can always find some goodness somewhere else – to overcome the grief that sadness may have brought us. Old Charlie Brown would call it “Good grief!”

As Jesus said, instead of clinging onto the dirt, onto all that negativity, God has given us the ability to shake it off our feet and move on.

Jesus sent His disciples out, today, to share the Good News of God’s love.  They would tell the people that despite the tough situation they may have been enduring, there actually is a whole community of people who believe in that Love, who trust in Jesus, and who make up what Jesus called “His Kingdom.”

 It’s a kingdom of Love and Healing.

It’s a kingdom of Promise and Hope.

And that, truly is Good News.

And, you know what, beloved?  Good News spreads.

Good News has the power to change the world from a place of complaining, and warring, and never being satisfied, to a place of joy, and hope, and satisfaction.

And it doesn’t require a college degree, or magical potions, or heavenly perfection.  God loves us regardless of how smart, or pretty, or perfect we are.

Jesus healed the sinner, and the saint.  He lifted up the poor, and the wealthy.  And His hope still extends to – all of us.

So, if we’re looking for Goodness, brothers and sisters, all we have to do is give a little.

And thanks be to God, we can!

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09-24-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

September 24, 2019
(Our Lady of Mercy)
The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd. Lk_8:19-21

Fame can sometimes be such a dastardly thing – at least to those to whom it really doesn’t matter.  Ever want to just shake their hand and say thanks, but you couldn’t even get near to them because of all those “groupies?”  Arggggh!  Anyway, it’s their loss.  At least Jesus used it as a teaching moment.  And thanks be to Mary’s “mercy,” because any other Jewish mom would have just bursted in there, grabbed Him by the ear and dragged Him home!

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09-23-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

September 23, 2019
(St. Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest, ‘Padre Pio’)
Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. Mt_5:16

Jesus said to the crowd: “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.  Lk_8:16-18

And we might be thinking, ‘What light?’  Well, God has given every one of us varying degrees of His light.  It might not be our looks, or our singing voices, or our skills with computers, but somewhere within us, we all have a glimmer of His light.  It may show in our LOVE, despite our poverty.  It may be our joy, despite our inner suffering.  It may be our patience or our kindness or even those beauties that are clearly obvious.  Whatever they are, Jesus is reminding us today of why God has given them to us.  He wants us to BE His light to the world:  where your beauty can cheer up a disheartened soul.  Where your wisdom can help the helpless out of a hopeless mess.  Where your musical talents can change the heart of the downtrodden.  SHINE your light, beloved.  And God will shine His all the brighter upon you as well!

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