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Daily Reflections


In the first reading we are told that we need to pray for all those in authority. With great power comes great responsibility, and we should pray for our leaders to take that responsibility seriously. We pray that those in authority are good leaders, wield their power responsibly, and keep the well-being of their people in mind. They do have authority. They do have power. They can affect the lives of their people, so we pray they are good and wise leaders and use their power well.
Jesus appreciates the man’s faith.  He says, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.”  He should have found such faith in Israel.  That is where the people would profess to have the most faith, but the strongest faith found was in a man of violence-- a soldier-- a centurion – an outsider. He understands Jesus’ authority and his power. Pray all leaders use their authority and their power well. It is a man of war who professes the strongest faith in the Lord, and who has the most devotion to His authority.

Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, Cyprian, Bishops, Martyrs

 

 

 


The Prodigal Son may be one of the most well known Gospel stories, not only among Christians, but the world in general.
As I progressed through my spiritual walk, there were two characters left that were a cause of reflection. They are, of course, the brother and father in the story. During a Lenten Season book study, the leader picked out The Prodigal Son by Henry Nouwen to read.  This was one of those books that as I was reading convicted my heart in many ways. I saw myself too often as the jealous brother in my walk through life. The book also led me to, what for me, was the main lesson from the parable. A father’s love is always there waiting to welcome his children back to the fold. More importantly is that, as a person I need to be a more loving and forgiving person not only with my children but others around me.
 

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time


For the story of Jesus is all “downward mobility” until death by crucifixion, from which he is raised from the dead by the Father. The eternal Son “did not regard equality with God something to be clung to [a more accurate translation than ‘to be grasped’]. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness [the incarnation]; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death [his life of self-giving service] even death on a cross [the death of a slave!].” Verses 9-11 then proceed to describe the Father’s exaltation of Jesus to the point where he in honored not only as Messiah (Christ) but as Lord (Kyrios, which means not only ‘Master’--the opposite of ‘slave’--but also Lord in the sense of divine (given the passage’s allusion to Isaiah 45:23, where Lord is the name of God).
Paul really means that the Christian way is to imitate this mind-set of Christ in self-emptying service of one another.

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

 


“Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?”—we recognize that Jesus is once again using hyperbole. In fact, the subject is the same, blind guides. But what kind of blindness, or failure to understand, is implied in this context?

The imagery of having the ‘eye problem’ of failing to see (understand) clearly, returns in verses 41-42, especially verse 42: “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’  when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You Hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.” We get the hyperbole in the contrast between the splinter and the wooden beam, but what exactly does it mean in practice to “remove the wooden beam” from one’s own eye? Faced with that question I suddenly realized that verse 40 provides the necessary clarifying context: “No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.”

Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

 

 


Jesus asks us to stop thinking of our daily interactions as business exchanges and start acting out of love. He asks us to stop judging, condemning, holding grudges, and holding back generosity not as a quid-pro-quo, but because we are beloved of God. A quote often attributed to Mother Theresa says, “In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” If we realize God’s love for us in an all-encompassing way, we won’t need to exchange our kindness for others’. We will be free live generously, as those who have received love well. Love received spills over, and lovers are generous to those beloved.

Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time



These readings are not just inviting us to question where are hearts are, where are focus should be.  These words of Jesus also give hope that there is a more wonderful place and time coming, and that the destruction, greed, division and tragedy of this world will not have the final say.

Perhaps, today, there is an invitation in these readings to know more closely and intimately what God’s desire is for us.  Let us take a little extra time today in asking Jesus to help show us God’s desire for us…through our daily actions, experiences, conversations and all that is around us.  And, on this solemn day of memorial in the United States, remembering the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001 and the many that perished that day, may we all pray and work for unity, understanding, love and peace.

Wednesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time


But how are we to discern, in today’s age of information overload, God’s path for us? In Luke’s Gospel we have the simple but profound example of Christ himself. In Luke’s Gospel we have the simple but profound example of Christ himself. Any big event in the life of Jesus was preceded by prayer. He faced the passion after prayer an since choosing his apostles would impact forever his Church on Earth he prayed before selecting them. Committing to time in prayer is joining Christ in prayer and can help us discern what is best and most loving in our daily lives. Prayer can give us the opportunity to put important decisions in our lives in the context of the love of God and his will for us.

Tuesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time


In today’s gospel, St. Luke describes a scene in which a man with a withered hand approaches Jesus in hope of healing.

Today is also the Memorial of St. Peter Claver...He dedicated his life to the salvation of the Negro slaves.  He advocated for the abolition of the slave trade.  With each boatload of slaves, St. Peter Claver fed the hungry, educated the slaves, buried the dead, and converted many souls.  It is said that he was responsible for 300,000 slaves entering the Church.  He didn’t stop there.  He accompanied slaves to the plantations on which they worked.  He urged the slaves to be respectful of the masters.  He called them and accompanied them to a life of Christianity.

The word that continually comes to mind as I reflect on today’s gospel and the story of St. Peter Claver is kindness.  It’s critical that we practice kindness, even when it’s difficult.

Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest




Every day we make commitments...We are challenged each and every day to remain true to our commitments, but they are so easy to break and so tough to keep.

Breaking a vow is humiliating. It makes us feel weak and can hurt those who were depending on us to be true to our word.

Fortunately for us, we have a forgiving God, one who knows our weaknesses and understands that we will stumble and fall repeatedly. Our God extends his hand, to pull us up when our promise of unvarying discipleship falters, helping us to be true to his commandments and his teaching.

Let us approach this day and every day recommitted to our goals and aspirations to improve our personal lives and communities, to better the lives of those with whom we interact, and most importantly, to deepen our relationship with Christ. Let us commit – with courage and excitement – to live a faith-filled life we can be proud of. For despite our frequent stumbles, God is continually there to inspire us to persevere.

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time


In our lessons for today, Jesus says “I am the way and the truth and the life.”  And further it says, no one gets to the Father except through Jesus.  These lessons help me see that we don’t get to the Father through the law.  But so often I lose hope and revert to following the law to secure my salvation and the salvation of others.  In the Gospel message for today, the Pharisees were also stuck on that still spinning broken record, but Jesus reminded them that laws are made for man, not man for laws.  In our witness to the Gospel message, our lives should be examples of respect for the law, but a recognition that it is not the law that saves us, it is Christ.

Saturday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time


For in him [Jesus] were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible...all things were created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  (COL 1:16a, 17)

The more time I spend bonding with nature, be it through this picture window, on sauntering daily walks with my wife or during nights spent sleeping under blankets of stars, the closer I feel to God.  This is a central feature in my spiritual practice.  In today’s first reading, St. Paul is inviting me to look even more closely at the features of creation in order to see the face of Christ.  

Friday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

 

 

 

 

 


 


Change can be energizing but it can also be unsettling.  Today’s first reading from Paul’s letter to the Colossians is filled with joyful encouragement.  Paul reminds the Colossians of God’s abiding love as “He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”  Paul’s words remind me to slow down in times of unsettling change and become grounded in God’s love.   During these busy, and sometimes trying days, I continue to pray to “be filled with the knowledge of God's will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.”

Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

 


The second invitation for me was a little more subtle and in some was more difficult.  It was in the form of two simple questions.  Where in my life do I need to be open to receive healing, to hear the Good News? And, who might unexpectedly be proclaiming to me?  I like to think that I have things all figured out or quickly respond “I’m fine” when someone asks how I am.  I heard the invitation to be attentive to how things really are, how I am really doing and respond from a place authenticity and openness.  God’s grace may be just waiting for me ask.  Be aware for how God may be reaching out to me is what I heard.  Someone may be paying it forward.

Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide


We continue reading from Paul's First Letter to Timothy. It begins this week with the great prayer for our leaders. He then says how bishops and deacons should behave. He urges Timothy to be especially caring for the youth. Paul warns Timothy of the troubles of riches. Finally, Paul encourages Timothy to be faithful.
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus praises the faith of the Roman centurion who understands Jesus' power to heal. Jesus then raises from the dead the son of the widow of Nain. In response to constant criticism from religious authorities, Jesus compares the critics to children taunting their playmates. We read of the woman who entered a dinner Jesus was attending and wept over his feet, washing them with her tears, showing what real love is.

Twenty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

 

 

 

 

 

 




God's loving mercy and forgiveness to us is the central message in Luke's Gospel for the Twenty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time. Knowing that his audience includes not only the sinners but also the judgmental religious leaders, Jesus offers three parables about mercy, ending with the powerful story of the Prodigal Son. The father says to the jealous older son, “You are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”

Twenty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

 

 

 

 




God's loving mercy and forgiveness to us is the central message in Luke's Gospel for the Twenty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time. Knowing that his audience includes not only the sinners but also the judgmental religious leaders, Jesus offers three parables about mercy, ending with the powerful story of the Prodigal Son. The father says to the jealous older son, “You are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”
Throughout this week, we can also give thanks for the ways we are called to be Jesus' followers - not because we are extremely talented or because we are perfect, but because he saw in us something that he could heal and then send us to heal others.

Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary Time

 

 





God's loving mercy and forgiveness to us is the central message in Luke's Gospel for the Twenty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time. Knowing that his audience includes not only the sinners but also the judgmental religious leaders, Jesus offers three parables about mercy, ending with the powerful story of the Prodigal Son. The father says to the jealous older son, “You are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”

Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary Time

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


 


We can choose to focus carefully this week on those people we ask for the grace to forgive. Whose faults do I pay most attention to? Whom do I judge harshly? From whom do I withhold forgiveness? If we begin each day, asking our Lord to reveal the answers to these questions, throughout our day, our days this week will show us deeper places where the Lord can forgive us and where we can share that mercy.

From the beginning of the week, we might ask Mary to gently guide us to trust her Son's love and to be more tender in loving those people her Son invites us to forgive and be a source of healing.

Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary Time

 


As we begin each day this week, we can let these two graces be part of our reflection. We can ask our Lord to show us his love. We can fearlessly ask to understand who we are as sinners, in the concrete ways each of us falls short, gets distracted, becomes uncentered and makes very unfree choices. We can ask to be forgiven and healed. We can beg for the grace to forgive others. This journey each day might take us into specific patterns, habits, ruts we're in. We may even want to prepare to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week, in preparation for celebrating the upcoming Sunday's readings.

Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary Time



 

 

 


When we place Jesus at the center of our lives, as Paul calls the Colossians to do, two marvelous graces are given us. We experience God's love for us in the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus. As grateful sinners, we then are able to forgive others.

Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary Time

 

 

 

 

 

 





Monday is the Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest.

In the first part of this week, following Luke’s Gospel, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand, on the Sabbath, in front of his religious critics. Then Jesus goes up on a mountain to pray and comes down to name his twelve apostles - all of whom seem to be unknown or questionable at best. When people come to him from all over, he heals them. Jesus announces that the poor, the hungry, those who weep, and those hated or excluded or denounced because of him are the blessed. He warns those who are rich, filled, laughing and spoken well of, for their fates will be reversed.

Jesus says that we will be known by our fruit. It is only by building our lives upon him, as a firm foundation, can we hope to survive crises.

Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary Time

 

 




On the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear Wisdom marvel at God's ways. Paul writes to his friend, Philemon, about Philemon's slave, Onesimus, who is now a convert and in prison with Paul. Paul asks that he be taken back as a son or a brother. In Luke's Gospel, Jesus tells the crowd that following him will involve radical conversion and requires that each us discern if we can prepare for the self-denial required.

Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 



On the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear Wisdom marvel at God's ways. Paul writes to his friend, Philemon, about Philemon's slave, Onesimus, who is now a convert and in prison with Paul. Paul asks that he be taken back as a son or a brother. In Luke's Gospel, Jesus tells the crowd that following him will involve radical conversion and require that each person discern if they can prepare for the self-denial required.

Twenty-second Week of Ordinary Time

 


 

 

 


This week, we might ask Jesus to confront the demons that seem to dominate the upcoming week. We may have many mothers-in-law or friends that need healing that we can entrust to the Lord's care. We might experience discouragement in our work, with our spouses or parents or in our jobs or ministries. We can take those discouragements and use them as an opportunity to ask the Lord to show us his power there. And, when we are tempted to feel unworthy or to be humbled by the task ahead, we can let Jesus call us again to follow him. Perhaps this week we will feel the call to a real renewal, to not just keep trying to pour new wine into our old wineskins but to ask the Lord to make us new, and ready for the new calls, new graces he is offering us. With the smallest of efforts, we can find a few moments every evening to look back on these days of connecting with our Lord, and to express our gratitude for his presence and the new freedom and graces we are receiving.

Twenty-second Week of Ordinary Time


Jesus teaches in the synagogue and reads from Isaiah: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus heals a man with demons. He heals Simon’s mother-in-law, and all the sick they brought him. “I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” He calls out to three discouraged fishermen to lower their nets, to show them his power. Peter is overwhelmed and protests he is unworthy. “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” At Jesus' persistence, Peter, James and John leave their nets to follow Jesus. The week ends with Jesus' tangling with the Pharisees who challenge the fasting of his disciples.

Twenty-second Week of Ordinary Time


Reading this guide over the weekend or early in the week helps, as does reading the Daily Reflection for the day. But these resources work best when they provide a support for our inner conversation with the Lord as we go through the real experiences, relationships, conflicts and challenges of our day. Then the scriptures, the unique details of our lives, and the desires of our hearts simply come together in an ongoing dialogue with the Lord that takes place in the background of our days and shapes our choices and reveals deeper desires.

Twenty-second Week of Ordinary Time

 

 

 

Pope Francis


The Pope noted that this year,  the Discalced Augustinians were particularly focussing on their order’s special 4th vow of humility, which according to the Prior General, is “a ‘key’ that opens the heart of God and the hearts of men”.   Above all, he said, it “opens your own hearts to be faithful to the original charism, to always feel yourselves disciples-missionaries, available to God's calls”.  
Pope Francis encouraged the Discalced Augustinians to love and continue deepening their roots, and draw from them, in prayer and in community discernment, the lifeblood for their presence in the Church and the world today.
Their qualification of “discalced”, meaning “barefoot”, the Pope said, “expresses the need for poverty, detachment, trust in Divine Providence”.  It is not so much about going barefoot and without shoes, as having a “barefoot soul”, a charism and evangelical need about which the Spirit makes us feel very strongly at certain moments in the journey of the Church. We must always be attentive and docile, he said, to the voice of the Spirit, the protagonist who makes the Church grow with that great force of evangelization. 

Fidelity to roots and tradition ensures future


The miracle of a people standing along the roadside for kilometers, gathered in open spaces, camped out, in the midst of the dust, just to see the Pope pass by, to catch his eye, to concentrate in an instant their personal and collective history, to be seen and blessed by the Pope: this is the powerful testimony of what the Church is. 
Hundreds of thousands of people coming together in unity, to proclaim their faith with joy, and to be confirmed by the Successor of Peter. 
Hundreds of thousands of people, each one of them embodying the visible presence of God, who Himself waits to be seen in each of one these faces. 

The strength of a people asking to be confirmed in the faith

 

 




This flame of fraternal charity of “one heart and mind”, as in the Acts of the Apostles, the Pope said, cannot be possible without that reaching out for God, which is the deep dynamism of Augustinian communities and the wellspring of all their service to the Church and to humanity.

There can be no love without the Spirit of God, Pope Francis said, citing St. Paul  He recalled the Augustinian Constitution which regards fraternal charity as "a prophetic sign", which cannot be accomplished without taking up one’s daily cross for Christ's sake, with humility and gentleness.
The path of charity, in Augustinian meditation, means also loving our enemies, as Jesus commanded and did, Pope Francis said. 
He concluded leaving them a challenge and a responsibility. “Live in your communities in such a way as to experience God together and be able to show Him alive to the world!” 

Show experience of God to world through charity


On the 17th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York, we step back in time to remember the words and actions of three Popes when faced with the horrors of 9/11.

On April 20, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI made the first papal visit to Ground Zero in New York. To honor the victims, the Pope chose not to give a speech. He said a prayer instead...“God of understanding,” he prayed, “overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy, we seek your light and guidance as we confront such terrible events.”

Seven years later, Pope Francis followed in his predecessor’s footsteps, visiting the completed Ground Zero monument on September 25, 2015.

At this symbolic location, Pope Francis held an interreligious meeting, and appealed for all religions to promote peace together.

“This place of death became a place of life too,” he said. It is “a hymn to the triumph of life over the prophets of destruction and death, to goodness over evil, to reconciliation and unity over hatred and division.”

Remembering 9/11 with the Popes


“Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of missionary joy!” he said.

Pope Francis concluded his discourse upholding a happy Church of the poor and for the poor, “a Church imbued by the fragrance of her Lord, a Church that lives joyfully by preaching the Good News to the marginalized of the earth, to those who are closest to God’s heart”.

“May you continue to be a sign of his living presence in our midst!” he said.

Be a sign of His living presence


 

 




The Pope pointed out the disparity, while praising the country’s steady economic development since independence in 1968. “It appears that economic growth does not always profit everyone,” he said, “and even sets aside – by certain of its mechanisms and processes – a certain number of people, particularly the young.”

So he urged Mauritius’ political leaders to promote an economic policy “focused on people”, one that favors “a better division of income, the creation of jobs, and integral promotion of the poor.”

The alternative, he noted, would be to “yield to the temptation of an idolatrous economic model that feels the need to sacrifice human lives on the altar of speculation and profit alone”.

Promote jobs for youth, welcome migrants

 


Pope Francis identified young people as “our foremost mission”. We must not speak to them “in an aloof or distant way”, he said, but “learn their language, listen to their stories, spend time with them, and make them feel that they too are blessed by God”.

“Only joyful Christians” awaken in others the desire to follow the path of Christ’s call to be “blessed”, continued the Pope. The word “blessed” means “happy”, he said. “It becomes a synonym for ‘holy’, because it expresses the fact that those who are faithful to God and His word, by their self-giving, gain true happiness”.

Be a youthful, joyful, missionary Church



Pope Francis always makes a point of visiting the sick, whether on an Apostolic journey abroad, or back home in Rome. But his visit to the Zimpeto Hospital, outside the Mozambican capital of Maputo, was special.  

That is because the hospital houses the “Dream Center” for people suffering from HIV-AIDS. “DREAM” is an acronym for “Disease Relief through Excellent and Advanced Means”.

Pope Francis’ first reaction when he arrived at the center, was to say how the “competence, professionalism and love” shown the patients, especially the mothers and children suffering from HIV-AIDS, made him think of the parable of the Good Shepherd.

“All those who come here, in anguish and despair, are like the man lying on the side of the road”, he said. “This Centre shows us that there are always people ready to stop and show compassion”.

Pope visits hospital in Mozambique and comforts HIV-AIDS patients


Pope Francis on Tuesday appointed three new Apostolic Nuncios.

Monsignor Antoine Camilleri has been serving up until now as Undersecretary for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State. He has been appointed as titular archbishop of Skálholt, in Iceland, and at the same time entrusted with the office of Apostolic Nuncio.

The Holy Father has appointed as titular archbishop of Mesembria, Bulgaria, new nuncio Paolo Rudelli, currently the Holy See Special Envoy and Permanent Observer at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, at the same time entrusting to him the office of apostolic nuncio.

Finally, Pope Francis has appointed as titular Archbishop of Milazzo, Italy, Paolo Borgia, currently assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, at the same time entrusting to him the office of apostolic nuncio.

Pope Francis appoints three new Apostolic Nuncios


 




Pope Francis has expressed his “deep condolences” and “union in prayer” at the death of Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who passed away on 4 September, in Cambo-les-Bains, France, at the age of  96.

Writing in a telegram to Bishop Marc Aillet of Bayonne, Lescar and Oloron, the Pope, who is on an apostolic visit to Mozambique, noted that Cardinal Etchegaray “profoundly marked the way of the Church in France and of the universal Church.”  “From Bayonne, his native diocese, to Marseille, where he was archbishop,” the Pope said, “he was a zealous pastor and loved by the people he was called to serve.” 

Cardinal Etchegaray, a zealous pastor with deep faith


Although a “life of persecution and tribulations seems to be a life without peace”, Pope Francis recalled the last of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account”.

This is the gift of the “peace of Jesus”, he said, that we cannot obtain through human means, like going to a doctor or taking anti-anxiety drugs. This peace is something different, which comes from “the Holy Spirit within us”, and that brings with it “strength”.

The Holy Father encouraged us to face the greatest difficulties of life with this “gift promised by Jesus”, instead of that false peace that comes from the world, or from having money in the bank. Going beyond the day’s readings, Pope Francis invited us to go forward in life with an even greater capacity, the ability to “make the heart smile”.

The peace of Jesus is like the calm of a deep sea


“Realize that the Lord is full of gifts for us. He asks just one thing: that our hearts be open. When we say ‘Our Father’ and we pray, we open our heart, allowing this gratuitousness to enter. Often when we need some spiritual grace, we say: ‘Well, now I will fast, do penance, pray a novena…’ Fine, but be careful: this is not done to ‘pay’ or ‘buy’ grace. We do it to open our hearts so that grace might enter. Grace is freely given.”

All God’s gifts, said Pope Francis, are given without cost. And he warned that sometimes “the heart folds in on itself and remains closed”, and it is no longer able to receive “such freely given love”.

‘Serve others freely, as God freely loves you’


The Pope will leave Rome on Wednesday morning and arrive in Maputo, Mozambique, in the evening, where he will be officially welcomed. He will spend Thursday and Friday in Maputo.

On Friday afternoon, he will fly to Antananarivo, Madagascar, where he will stay until Sunday evening.

Monday morning, Pope Francis will travel to Port Louis, Mauritius, for the conclusion of his Apostolic Journey. He will return to Rome on Tuesday.

Pope Francis entrusts his 31st Apostolic Journey to Mary

 

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