Tuesday, September 18, 2018

 

WEDNESDAY, 24TH Week in Ordinary Time

September 19, 2018 – WEDNESDAY, 24TH Week in Ordinary Time

St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr

Green.

 

1 Cor 12: 31 - 13: 13 / Lk 7: 31 – 35

 

Born in Benevento, St. Januarius (d. 305) was martyred in Naples during the reign of Diocletian. He is the Patron of Naples. When the container-reliquary of his blood is exposed on this day and a couple of other days in the year his blood liquefies.

 

FROM THE 1ST READING:             1 Cor 12: 31 - 13: 1, 11 - 13

Be that as it may, set your hearts on the most precious gifts, and I will show you a much better way..

 

If I could speak all the human and angelic tongues, but had no love, I would only be sounding brass and a clanging cymbal. ....

 

When I was a child I thought and reasoned like a child, but when I grew up, I gave up childish ways. Likewise, at present we see dimly as in a faulty mirror, but then it shall be face to face. Now we know in part, but then I will know as I am known. Now we have faith, hope and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love.

 

GOSPEL READING:           Lk 7: 31 - 35

Jesus said, "What comparison can I use for this people? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace, about whom their companions complain: 'We piped you a tune and you would not dance; we sang funeral songs and you would not cry.'

 

"Remember John: he didn't eat bread or drink wine, and you said, 'He has an evil spirit.' Next came the Son of Man, eating and drinking, and you say: 'Look, a glutton for food and wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' But the children of Wisdom always recognize her word."

 

REFLECTION

In his great hymn on love in his First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul extols the greatness and supremacy of love, now and forever.

 

We can test ourselves on what Paul wrote: Do we act out of love? Have we forgiven offensive people or remarks? Have we been kind at home to the family? Have we been grateful to and loving of God?

 

In the Gospel reading Jesus compares the people to little children who would not dance to dance music nor cry with funeral songs: they could not understand John the Baptist who neither ate nor drank and yet they complained about Jesus for eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners.

 

We need wisdom to properly understand and interpret the actions of people. John the Baptist led a life of penance and austerity: he was not possessed by an evil spirit. The Son of Man ate and drank with tax collectors and sinners: he was neither a glutton nor a drunkard; as missioned by his Father, he sought out sinners to save them from their sins.

 

Lord, give us the gift of wisdom to properly discern, interpret and understand the complex world and people around us.

 


 

Have a good day!

 

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

 

24th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

September 16, 2018 - 24th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Cycle B. Green.

Is 50: 5 - 9a / Jas 2: 14- 18 / Mk 8: 27- 35

 

[Bicolandia: Ina, Our Lady of Peñafrancia]

 

2ND READING: Jas 2: 14- 18

What good is it, my brothers and sisters to profess faith without showing works? If a brother or a sister is in need of clothes or food and one of you says, "May things go well for you; be warm and be satisfied," without attending to their material needs, what good is that? So it is for faith without deeds: it is totally dead.

 

Say to whoever challenges you, "You have faith and I have good deeds; show me your faith apart from actions and I, for my part, will show you my faith in the way I act."

 

GOSPEL READING:           Mk 8: 27- 35

Jesus set out with his disciples for the villages around Caesarea Philippi, and on the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?" And they told him, "Some say you are John the Baptist; others say you are Elijah or one of the prophets.

 

Then Jesus asked them, "But you, who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Messiah." And he ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

 

Jesus then began to teach them that the Son of Man had to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. He would be killed and after three days rise again. Jesus said all this quite openly, so that Peter took him aside and began to protest strongly. But Jesus turning around, and looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter saying, "Get behind me Satan! You are thinking not as God does but as people do."

 

Then Jesus called the people and his disciples and said, "If you want to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. For if you choose to save your life, you will lose it; and if you lose your life for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel, you will save it."

 

REFLECTION

The questions that Jesus posed to his disciples in today's Gospel reading are questions that can be repeated over and over again. The first question, "Who do people say Jesus is?" For millions of people in our own day Jesus is an unknown figure. Of our world's total population of more than seven billion, only about 32% are Christians who recognize Jesus as truly divine. Islam which represents about 23% of the world's population sees Jesus as a prophet, but as not divine.

 

The second question, "Who do you, my disciples, say that I am?" In the Gospel passage we hear Peter boldly saying that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the anointed One. And the belief of Peter, a belief given by grace, is what we, who are Christians, claim to be also our belief.

 

We might ask a third question of ourselves, "How do we live the faith we profess? How do we live our faith as believers in Jesus as the Christ, the Anointed One?" The second reading of today's liturgy from the Letter of James gives the answer to that question: We live our faith by the way we love and live as Jesus loved and lived. We live our faith by caring for our needy brothers and sisters. Faith without the works and deeds demanded by faith is not a living faith but a dead faith. Which is why the Church in our time has insisted that action for social justice is an integral element of our faith life.

 

Something else to ponder: The command that Jesus gave to his apostles at his ascension to go into the world and "make disciples of all nations" (Mt 28:19) is a command for us to consider addressed to each one of us. Perhaps by living our faith as the Letter of James urges we can draw more men and women into Christ's discipleship. Pope Francis would suggest that a faith lived with conviction and joy can be an excellent means of "making" more disciples today..

 


 

Have a good day!

 

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MONDAY, 24th Week in Ordinary Time

September 17, 2018 – MONDAY, 24th Week in Ordinary Time

St. Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Memorial. White.

 

1 Cor 11: 17- 26, 33 / Lk 7: 1 – 10

 

Of an Italian noble family, St. Robert Bellarmine (1542 - 1621), a Jesuit who became Cardinal-Archbishop of Capua, was a great scholar and theologian, a writer and systematic apologist of the Catholic Counter-Reformation.

 

 FROM THE 1ST READING:            1 Cor 11: 23- 26

This is the tradition of the Lord that I received and that in my turn I have handed on to you; the Lord Jesus Christ, on the night he was delivered up, took bread and, giving thanks, broke it, saying, "This is my body which is broken for you; do this in memory of me."

 

In the same manner, taking the cup after the supper, he said, "This cup is the new Covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do it in memory of me." So then whenever you eat of this bread and drink from this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord until he comes.

 

FROM THE GOSPEL READING:     Lk 7: 2- 10

There was a captain whose servant was very sick and near to death, a man very dear to him. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent some elders of the Jews to persuade him to come and save his servant's life. The elders came to Jesus and begged him earnestly, saying, "He deserves this of you, for he loves our people and even built a synagogue for us."

 

Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the captain sent friends to give him this message, "Sir, do not trouble yourself for I am not worthy to welcome you under my roof. You see I didn't approach you myself. Just give the order and my servant will be healed. For I myself, a junior officer, give orders to my soldiers and I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to the other, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."

 

On hearing these words, Jesus was filled with admiration. He turned and said to the people with him, "I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith." The people sent by the captain went back to his house; there they found that the servant was well.

 

REFLECTION

In the first reading Paul reminds the Corinthians what the Lord's supper which we gather for is all about: it is the proclamation of the Lord's death and triumph. We should offer the Eucharist with the greatest love, gratitude and respect.

 

In the Gospel reading Jesus marvels at the faith the Roman officer and cures his servant: "Sir, do not trouble yourself for I am not worthy to welcome you under my roof." "I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith."

 

We recall the Roman officer's faith before we receive Holy Communion, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." We pray, "Lord, strengthen our faith."

 

 

Have a good day!

 

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Friday, September 14, 2018

 

SATURDAY, 23RD Week in Ordinary Time

SATURDAY, 23RD Week in Ordinary Time

Our Lady of Sorrows

Memorial. White.

 

1 Cor 10: 14 - 22. / Optional Sequence Stabat Mater / Lk 2: 33 - 35 [or Jn 19: 25- 27.]

 

Pope Pius VII extended this devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows to the whole Church in 1814.

 

GOSPEL READING:           Lk 2: 33 - 35

His father and mother wondered at what was said about the child. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, "See him; he will be for the rise and fall of the multitudes of Israel. He shall stand as a sign of contradiction, while a sword will pierce your own soul. Then the secret thoughts of many may be brought to light."

 

 

REFLECTION

Muc h;sbeen said about the virtues and greatness of Mary, Mother of Jesus. She was especially graced by God, even exempted from original sin, on account of her key role as Mother of God-made-man. She is praised for her generous cooperation in God's plan to save mankind.

 

Today's memorial commemorates Mary's close cooperation and closeness to her Son Jesus, in his passion and suffering, in her being Our Lady of Sorrows. At the presentation of the Child Jesus at the Temple Simeon had prophesized her role and participation in the life and mission of her Suffering Servant Son, that "a sword will pierce your own soul.." (Lk 2: 35)

 

As we contemplate Our Lady of Sorrows we feel with Mary the pains brought to her by what happened to her Son: the flight into Egypt in the night to escape the envy of the King who wanted to kill the child, the frantic scare of missing the twelve-year old Boy in crowded Jerusalem, meeting and consoling her Son carrying the cross to Golgotha, standing at the foot of the cross below her crucified Son, and cradling her Son's body brought down from the cross. In her pain and sorrow, Mary was a witness and participant in how God worked his mercy through Jesus.

 

When our faith is tested by pains, difficulties and challenges, may we see God's loving hand helping us. We can surely depend on the care and intercession of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows and our Mother, to help us through the pain and sorrows to the joy and peace of God's unwavering love and care.

 


 

Have a good day!

 

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

 

FRIDAY, 23RD Week in Ordinary Time

September 14, 2018 – FRIDAY, 23RD Week in Ordinary Time

EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS

Feast. Red.

 

Nm 21: 4b- 9 / Phil 2: 6- 11 / Jn 3: 13 – 17

 

Public veneration of the Holy Cross dates to the fourth century when St. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, discovered the true cross in Jerusalem in 326.

 

2ND READING: Phil 2: [5]- 11

Let what was seen in Christ Jesus be seen in you. Though being divine in nature, he did not claim in fact equality with God, but emptied himself, taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness, and in his appearance found as a man. He humbled himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross. That is why God exalted him and gave him the Name which outshines all names, so that at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim that Christ Jesus is the Lord to the glory of God the Father.

 

GOSPEL READING:           Jn 3: 13 - 17

Jesus said to Nicodemus, "No one has ever gone up to heaven except the one who came from heaven, the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through him the world is to be saved."

 

REFLECTION

"Let what was seen in Christ Jesus be seen in you," (Phil 2: 5) provides the proper context to the second reading: Have the same attitude, have the same mind of Christ Jesus. And that is to empty oneself of the ego, of self-referential thoughts and feelings: hence to be humble and obedient to the Father, even to the point of shedding blood and dying on the Cross.

 

Have you ever noticed how our mind is so often cluttered with many thoughts and how many feelings, often negative ones, piggy-back on those thoughts? This cluttered mind and bruised feelings have often and frequently left our soul in disarray and confusion.

 

A spiritual writer has suggested to focus on one word, e.g. "love," or "surrender," and gently sit quietly with the word. When other thoughts come, let them go. Picture life as a river, as a stream of water sailing by and as one thought occurs, imagine putting that thought on a boat and letting the boat sail away with it.

 

This method has been considered prayer because at the heart of it is all is the emptying of ourselves of all thoughts and feelings and surrendering them to the Father. It is emptying, kenosis in Greek, very much like the emptying that Jesus did when he was on this earth. It was dying every day in the physical, spiritual and emotional dimensions of his life. It was dying because he turned his thoughts, his feelings, his body and ultimately his will in utter and complete surrender to the Father.

 

Practice this method for twenty minutes twice a day. The more you practice it, the more it will bear fruit. And what is the fruit? Have the same attitude, the same mind as Jesus Christ!

 

It is a difficult practice. And it is difficult indeed because in the final analysis it is dying, like Jesus on the Cross.

 


 

Have a good day!

 

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Monday, September 10, 2018

 

TUESDAY, 23rd Week in Ordinary Time

September 11, 2018 – TUESDAY, 23rd Week in Ordinary Time

Green.

 

1 Cor 6: 1 - 11 / Lk 6: 12 – 19

 

FROM THE 1ST READING:             1 Cor 6: 9 - 11

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Make no mistakes about it: those who lead immoral lives, or worship idols, or who are adulterers, homosexuals of any kind, or thieves, exploiters or embezzlers will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Some of you were like that, but you have been cleansed and consecrated to God and have been set right with God by the Name of the Lord Jesus and the Spirit of our God.

 

GOSPEL READING:           Lk 6: 12- 19

At this time Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. When day came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them whom he called apostles: Simon whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alpheus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James, and Judas lscariot, who would be the traitor.

 

Coming down the hill with them, Jesus stood on a level place. Many of his disciples were there and a large crowd of people who came from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem and from the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon. They gathered to hear him and be healed of their diseases; likewise people troubled by evil spirits were healed. All the crowd tried to touch him because of the power which went out from him and healed all of them.

 

REFLECTION

In the first reading Paul praises God for converting so many from their evil ways through faith in the Lord Jesus and by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

 

In the Gospel reading, after a night of prayer, Jesus names the twelve apostles, ordinary men he has called and chosen to be his close companions and co-workers and who would, after his life on earth, lead his Church. They were ordinary people: a few fishermen and their friends, a tax collector, devout Israelites. Two would betray him, one before simple maid-servants, the other betray him to his death before Jewish religious leaders for thirty pieces of silver. Except for one, all would abandon him at his trial and death.

 

Yet somehow they remained his faithful followers. And with the power of the Holy Spirit set the world on fire. All, except for one, died martyrs' deaths in witness to their love for Christ.

 

Converted from our evil ways and tendencies by God's loving mercy, may we be faithful and loving followers of Christ. May the Church always have faithful and trustworthy successors of the Apostles as leaders of the Church.

 


Have a good day!

 

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Saturday, September 08, 2018

 

23rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

September 9, 2018 - 23rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Cycle B. Green.

 

Is 35: 4 -7a / Jas 2: 1- 5 / Mk 7: 31- 37

 

1ST READING: Is 35: 4- 7a

Say to those who are afraid: "Have courage, do not fear. See, your God comes, demanding justice. He is the God who rewards, the God who comes to save you."

 

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unsealed. Then will the lame leap as a hart and the tongue of the dumb sing and shout. For water will break out in the wilderness and streams gush forth from the desert. The thirsty ground will become a pool, the arid land springs of water. In the haunts where once the reptiles lay, grass will grow with reeds and rushes.

 

2ND READING: Jas 2: 1 - 5

My brothers and sisters, if you truly believe in our glorified Lord, Jesus Christ, you will not discriminate between persons. Suppose a man enters a synagogue where you are assembled, dressed magnificently and wearing a gold ring; at the same time, a poor person enters dressed in rags. If you focus your attention on the well-dressed and say, "Come and seat at the best seat," while to the poor one you say, "Stay standing or else sit down at my feet," have you not, in fact, made a distinction between the two? Have you not judged, using a double standard?

 

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters, did God not choose the poor of this world to receive the riches of faith and to inherit the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him?

 

GOSPEL READING:           Mk 7: 31- 37

Again Jesus set out: from the country of Tyre he passed through Sidon and skirting the sea of Galilee he came to the territory of Decapolis. There a deaf man who also had difficulty in speaking was brought to him. They asked Jesus to lay his hand on him.

 

Jesus took him apart from the crowd, put his fingers into the man's ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then, looking up to heaven, he groaned and said to him "Ephphetha," that is, "Be opened."

 

And his ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak clearly. Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone, but the more he insisted on this, the more they proclaimed it. The people were completely astonished and said, "He has done all things well; he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak."

 

REFLECTION

In today's Gospel reading the evangelist narrates one of the many miraculous cures that Jesus worked. A man who was deaf and mute was brought to Jesus who looked up to heaven (seeking divine power?) and gave the command, "Be opened!" and the man was enabled to hear and speak perfectly. We are told of an event in a day of the public ministry of Jesus.

 

But as this story is preached to us today it is not only about the cure of a man who was deaf and mute. The reading of the Gospel of today is a reminder to all of us of our need to have the Lord open whatever may be closed in us and needs to be opened. Are we sometimes deaf to the cries of the poor and needy around us? Are there times when we are speechless when we should cry out against injustice? Do any prejudices or biases keep us closed to how to deal with others?

 

If we, therefore, were to read and hear today's Gospel story simply about a historical event in the Lord's life, we would miss the whole reason why the evangelist has included this event (and many others like it) in his Gospel narrative. The story may seem to be about a man who was deaf and mute a couple of thousand years ago, but as we read and hear the story in our liturgy today the story is about you and me and all of us. Let us be ready to hear the Lord say to us, "Be opened!"

 


 

Have a good day!

 

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Friday, September 07, 2018

 

NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

SATURDAY, NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Feast. White.

 

Mi 5: 1- 4a [or Rom 8: 28- 30] / Mt 1:1 -16, 18- 23

 

This fifth-century feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary marks the dedication of a basilica in Jerusalem built, according to tradition, at the location of the home of St. Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 

1ST READING:    Mi 5: 1- 4a

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, so small that you are hardly named among the clans of Judah, from you shall I raise the one who is to rule over Israel, For he comes forth from old, from the ancient times. Yahweh, therefore, will abandon Israel until such time as she who is to give birth has given birth.

 

Then the rest of his deported brothers will return to the people of Israel. He will stand and shepherd his flock with the strength of Yahweh, in the glorious Name of Yahweh, his God. They will live safely while he wins renown to the ends of the earth. He shall be peace.

 

FROM THE GOSPEL READING:     Mt 1: 1, 16

This is the document of the origins of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham... Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and from her came Jesus who is called the Christ- -the Messiah.

 

REFLECTION

When they asked St. Bernadette Soubirous to describe the woman who appeared to her at the grotto of Massabielle, she said, "The virgin was beautiful, when one had seen her one longs to die."

 

When we honor Mary we also honor her Son Jesus and God who blessed and freed her from sin from the moment she was conceived. Today's Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is nine months after the celebration of her Immaculate Conception on 08 December.

 

We call on Mary in many various titles, Stella Maris, Mystical Rose, Morning Star, and many others. Her primary title is her primary role in salvation history as the Mother of God, which we celebrate on 01 January. Hanging on the cross, Jesus gave her to John, the beloved disciple, to the Church and to all of us, "He said to the Mother, 'Woman, this is your son.' Then he said to the disciple, "There is your mother.' And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home." (Jn 19: 26- 28)

 

As we honor Mary in our celebration of her birth, we also honor our mothers, who have nurtured, protected and loved us from our conception, birth and growth in the family. We thank our parents for their love and care for us.

 

In glory in heaven Mary our Mother intercedes for us with the Father and her Son that we may grow in our love for God and live our lives in obedience to God's will. Learning from Mary's example, we pray that we may be faithful followers of Jesus. Human love may fail us, but the love of God and of Mary will never fail us.

 

"Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death."

 


 

Have a good day!

 

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FRIDAY, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time

FRIDAY, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time

Green.

 

1 Cor 4: 1 - 5 I Lk 5: 33 – 39

 

FROM THE 1ST READING:             1 Cor 4: 1 - 4

Let everyone then see us as the servants of Christ and stewards of the secret works of God. Being stewards, faithfulness shall be demanded of us, but I do not mind if you or any human court judges me. I do not even judge myself; my conscience indeed does not accuse me of anything, but that is not enough for me to be set right with God: the Lord is the one who judges me.

 

GOSPEL READING:           Lk 5: 33 - 39

Some people asked Jesus, "The disciples of John fast often and say long prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why it is that your disciples eat and drink?" Then Jesus said to them, "You can't make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them. But later the bridegroom will be taken from them and they will fast in those days."

 

Jesus also told them this parable, "No one tears a piece from a new coat to put it on an old one; otherwise, the new will be torn and the piece taken from the new will not match the old. No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed as well. But new wine must be put into fresh skins. Yet no one who has tasted old wine is eager to get new wine, but says: The old is good."

 

REFLECTION

Many people are afraid of change. In the time of Christ, the leaders and teachers of the Jewish people had many minute rules and practices: they expected these to be followed and they were afraid of any change.

 

The leaders of the Jews saw the ministry of Jesus as a challenge to the religious practices they had, to the life they had dedicated themselves to. They were then suspicious of Jesus and his teaching. As Jesus drew more followers, they were even resentful of Jesus, especially when they saw Jesus seeming to challenge their authority and practices.

 

Indeed, while the Church is a divine institution founded by Christ and protected by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is led by ordinary men and women and Christian life is led in a changing world. Key doctrine and morals will remain unchanged but changes are needed as people and times change in many other aspects of the Church and of Christian life and practice.

 

A key word for Vatican Council II, convoked in 1962 and completed in 1965, was aggiomamento, renewal or bringing up-to-date. The Church renewed its vision of itself from Biblical sources; its liturgical practices were simplified and clarified; it opened up itself to the modern world. Fifty years from Vatican Council II, the Church remains the same Church, though renewed and revitalized.

 


 

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These reflections are distributed free and are for personal use only. Feel free to send the Daily Prayer reflections to your friends, colleagues and relatives; however, if you do, please include the following: 

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