Friday of the 8th Week of the Year

Mk 11:11-26

Jesus Curses a Fig Tree

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

As kids we use to play a game wherein we bury a circular rubber band in a pile of sand. Whoever could extract the rubber band with tiny stick became the winner.

The gospel reading today looks just like that pile of sand to me. Not just its length but its mixed contents. And Mark is supposed to be brief and to the point in his gospel version! First he seems to present Jesus as unreasonable, expecting figs when it was not the time for figs. And worst, feeling hungry and not finding any fruit, he cursed it. Then this supposed to be meek and humble Jesus goes wild in the Temple. And after the incident, when reminded by Peter of the cursed and now withered fig tree, he simply ignored it. William Barclay in his commentary surrenders to the “insuperable difficulties in taking it literally.”

Yet a line from the first reading taken from the Book of Sirach, viz, “godly men whose virtues have not been forgotten” can provide that “stick” with which to extract the “rubber band” of message in the gospel above. “Have faith in God,” was Jesus’ answer when made aware of the withered fig tree. This gospel is on prayer by which we are nourished by His words and presence. Nothing should interrupt the connection with this source of divine strength! (Fr. Kit Ramirez, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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June 1, 2012

St. Justin, martyr
(M) RED

1 Pt 4:7-13
Ps 96
Mk 11:11-26

Jesus Curses a Fig Tree

11[Jesus] entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area. He looked around at everything and, since it was already late, went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

12The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry. 13Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, he went over to see if he could find anything on it. When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs. 14And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” And his disciples heard it. …

20Early in the morning, as they were walking along, they saw the fig tree withered to its roots. 21Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God. 23Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours. 25When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.[26]”

Reflection:

He found nothing but leaves. As followers of Jesus, we are expected to bear fruits of good works in and out of season. As his disciples, we must do and perform good things for people in Jesus’ name. We must share and show good things to others.

The image of the barren fig tree means missing the messages of God and failing to act upon them. The prophet Jeremiah says, “I will gather them all in, says the Lord: no grapes on the vine, no figs on the fig trees, foliage withered!” (Jer 8:13). A fig tree without fruits is barren; it does not serve its purpose.

Our life has a noble purpose. God created us for a worthy reason. God called and chose us for his vineyard. We have a goal to achieve or a mission to accomplish for God. We participate in God’s work, performing the task entrusted to us, and producing for God. Our resolutions cannot remain on paper. We must work and bear fruits, fruits that will last.

 Are we living and producing according to what Jesus is expecting from us?

ssp.ph/index.php/online-resources/366-days-with-the-lord/1870-june-1-2012

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In a seminar I facilitated, a participant convincingly shared his “new discovery” that Jesus is not without sin. He committed the sins of cursing the fig tree and hurting people by his anger. His clear proof, he insists, is the gospel of today (Mark 11:11-26). Without thorough reflection, the gospel of today may indeed be misleading.

While it is true that the New American Bible the first part of the gospel as Jesus Curses a Fig Tree and end with The Withered Fig Tree, the text does not speak about curse and the realization of the curse. The Word of God is always a blessing and not a curse. Then what is the gospel talking about? At the heart of the gospel today is prayer and its relation to the temple and bearing fruit. This is reinforced by the first reading, “be serious and sober for prayers….” (1Pt 4:7b).

Prayer is a communion between God and humanity. The desire to pray is itself a desire for communion. Jesus, who just entered Jerusalem, is about to offer Himself totally to His Father. This offering is the perfect prayer, the perfect communion. As He approached the temple, supposed to be a house of prayer and communion, He realized that it became a marketplace of human division between the rich and the poor, the buyers and the sellers, the chief priests, scribes and the rest of the people, the thieves and the liars. The divisions in the temple, the expressions and evil practices angered in order to highlight the purpose of his offering which is to bring communion. The Temple, as a house of prayer, must indeed be the archetype of communion.

The gospel, with prayer as its nucleus, was parenthesized as it were by Jesus cursing the Fig Tree and the Withered Fig Tree. Why is Jesus angry at the Fig Tree? Because it bore no fruit! Prayers are not empty words, liturgical activities are not empty rituals. They need to bear fruit.

The gospel closes with a fruit of prayer: forgiveness. Forgiveness is both the fruit and the root of prayer. For a prayer that is most pleasing to God is the prayer of a person who has asked forgiveness from the Lord and is ready to forgive others. Only in this way can we become a blessing to others and a source of communion.

As we start the month of June, we pray: “Lord, do not only teach us to pray, but make our lives living prayers offered to You and for one another. May we be pleasing brothers and sisters of Jesus by uniting people and not the cause of His anger by fueling divisions and hatred….. Amen!” (Fr. Aris Martin, Bible Diary 2012)

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May 27, 2016 Friday

Jesus is hungry.  He sees a fig tree, approaches it, hoping to pick some fruits to fill stomach. Unfortunately, the tree had produced no fruit. To his dismay, our Lord curses the fig tree, saying: “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” With the cursing of the fig tree, Jesus symbolically denounces “unfruitful Christians” – that is, people who profess themselves as followers of Jesus Christ but there is a contradiction between their testimony and their lifestyle.

This gospel passage is a precaution for a professing follower of Christ who lives a completely fruitless life; whose relationship with God is nothing more than rite, ritual and form. It is a wake-up call for us to harmonize our words and deeds.

For us Christians, the only way that we will ever be able to bear real fruit is for us to be tapped constantly unto the Source of all fruit: Jesus Christ. The more we cling to Him, the more we become godly and the more we will be like Him and bear fruit abundantly. (Fr. Jovito Osalvo, SVD | Portugal Bible 2016)

nveritas-asia.org/daily-reflection/660-may-27-2016-friday

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June 1, 2012

St. Justin, martyr

(M) RED

1 Pt 4:7-13

Ps 96

Mk 11:11-26

Jesus Curses a Fig Tree

11[Jesus] entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area. He looked around at everything and, since it was already late, went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

12The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry. 13Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, he went over to see if he could find anything on it. When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs. 14And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” And his disciples heard it. …

20Early in the morning, as they were walking along, they saw the fig tree withered to its roots. 21Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God. 23Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours. 25When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.[26]”

Reflection: He found nothing but leaves. As followers of Jesus, we are expected to bear fruits of good works in and out of season. As his disciples, we must do and perform good things for people in Jesus’ name. We must share and show good things to others.

The image of the barren fig tree means missing the messages of God and failing to act upon them. The prophet Jeremiah says, “I will gather them all in, says the Lord: no grapes on the vine, no figs on the fig trees, foliage withered!” (Jer 8:13). A fig tree without fruits is barren; it does not serve its purpose.

Our life has a noble purpose. God created us for a worthy reason. God called and chose us for his vineyard. We have a goal to achieve or a mission to accomplish for God. We participate in God’s work, performing the task entrusted to us, and producing for God. Our resolutions cannot remain on paper. We must work and bear fruits, fruits that will last.

Are we living and producing according to what Jesus is expecting from us?

ssp.ph/index.php/online-resources/366-days-with-the-lord/1870-june-1-2012

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Jesus and the Fig Tree

May 29, 2015 (readings)

Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Father John Doyle, LC

Mark 11:11-26

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve. On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it. Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the Temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the Temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the Temple. He was teaching and saying, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. Then Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”

Introductory Prayer: Once again, Lord, I come to you to pray. Even though I cannot see you, I trust that you are present and want very much to instruct me in your teachings. In the same way you demonstrate your love me by spending this time with me, I want to express my love for you by dedicating this time with you in a spirit of faith, confidence and attention. Here I am, Lord, to listen to you and respond with love.

Petition: Lord Jesus help me to learn how to unite prayer and action.

  1. Jesus and the Fig Tree:We witness Jesus withering a barren fig tree right down to its roots even though he knows that it is not the time for harvesting figs. Jesus never worked a miracle for himself, so we know it was not a punishment for not satisfying his hunger. This event immediately precedes his entering the Temple at Jerusalem where he expects to find people “busy about his Father’s affairs.” Instead he finds them occupied in worldly activity, and often fraudulent and unjust activity at that. The fruits of honesty and uprightness that Jesus expects to find are simply not there; so in a sense the fig tree symbolizes Jerusalem. Am I honest in my dealings with others? Do I realize that the Lord expects me to bear fruit? Do I invest my time well, in both prayer and action, to this end?
  2. All in a Day’s Work:This Gospel passage would make for a good documentary on a day in the life of Christ. He starts out early from Bethany to Jerusalem, he enters the Temple, faces the wrath of those there as he cleanses it, and then teaches for the rest of the day before returning to Bethany late in the evening. The very next day he begins his ministry again by teaching on the importance of faith in prayer. Jesus did not waste a second of his day; rather, he went about fulfilling his Father’s will. Still, Jesus was not a busybody. He did not generally meddle in others’ affairs, but he certainly was not about to allow worldly activity of a dishonest nature in his Father’s house. And so he throws the dishonest merchants out of Temple. Do I use my time well? Does that include the time I dedicate to prayer? Do I always act respectfully in God’s house where my Eucharistic Lord dwells?
  3. Praying with Faith:Prayer and action are intimately tied together. Jesus was right in driving the moneychangers and animals from the Temple. Certainly we’re not supposed to busy ourselves with worldly affairs while we’re in church. But it’s very proper to bring our worries and concerns, our joys, successes and failures to Christ in prayer. It’s good for us to ask Our Lord his viewpoint about our concerns and ask for his grace to continue on. And when we do set aside time specifically for prayer to encounter Christ, then we find the strength and desire to spread his message to others. It’s through prayer that we’re filled with apostolic zeal. When we dedicate our day to loving service of God, our day itself becomes a prayer. Is my prayer the source of interior strength, and is my action a loving prayer?

Conversation with Christ: My Jesus, you ask much of me, but you are always at my side assisting me with your grace an      d presence. Help me to use my time wisely on behalf of your Kingdom.

Resolution: I will program in five extra minutes of prayer today for the sake of serving Christ better.

epriest.com/reflections/view/403?utm_source=bulletin_737&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Bulletin

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One Bread, One Body – Reflection for May 29, 2015

A GOLDEN FINISH

“Their wealth remains in their families, their heritage with their descendants.” –Sirach 44:11

Many people work hard during their adult lives, with the goal of enjoying a relaxing, well-deserved retirement. They feel it’s the time to enjoy one’s grandchildren, and catch up on travel, hobbies, and leisure that were missed out on during many years of sacrifice.

However, the “golden years” are not really the time to let up; instead, these years are the time to “seal in” the heritage that has been sown. All too often, it takes only one generation for a society to lose its collective faith. The decades of solid groundwork that parents have laid may be lost in the relaxation of the golden years of retirement. Jesus may be issuing a call to grandparents when He says: “Listen to what I say: Open your eyes and see! The fields are shining for harvest!” (Jn 4:35)

Kings Hezekiah and Solomon both had tremendous starts in reforming their nation and turning their people to the Lord (2 Kgs 18:2ff; 1 Kgs 3:6ff). Yet their record is tarnished because they slacked off in later years. The end result of their reigns was that the nation was in worse shape when they died than it was before they started (2 Kgs 20:21ff; 1 Kgs 11:43ff).

Jesus warned us about “laying the foundation and then not being able to complete the work” (Lk 14:29). Then our legacy is merely a half-built tower, an extended family which didn’t have the faith that endured. Let us build a heritage that will endure for the glory of God.

PRAYER: Father, may I finish “the work You gave me to do” (Jn 17:4).

PROMISE: “I give you My word, if you are ready to believe that you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer, it shall be done for you.” –Mk 11:24

PRAISE: Tom, a physician, prays with his patients and blesses them with holy water during their visits to his office.

mycatholic.com/reflections/2015-149.html

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May 29, 2015

Friday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time

Sir 44:1, 9-13,

Mk 11:11-26

Regular Cleansing Is Indispensable

Jesus and his disciples had a solemn entry into the city of Jerusalem escorted by women and children shouting ‘Hosanna’ to him. It said that he straight away went to the temple area. “He looked around at everything and, since it was already late, went out to Bethany with the Twelve.” This gives a slight hint to the intention of Jesus. We are told that Jesus looked around and saw all that was going on there but since it was too late he withdrew to Bethany, a nearby village. It seems that nobody offered him breakfast and therefore he had to search for figs on his way back to Jerusalem. The Evangelist makes it very clear that the fig tree was in leaf and it was not the season of fruits. Still Jesus who was hungry hoped that he could find at least some fruits to satiate his hunger. But there was none. Jesus cursed the tree, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” and it withered. The biblical scholars have come up with various explanations to clarify and justify the action of Jesus. According to them the fig tree is a symbol of Israel or the temple of Jerusalem, which was flourishing in business yet failing in its purpose or goal.

The selection of Israel had a purpose and the erection of the temple had a motive. However, Israel became a self-engrossed, self-preoccupied, self-catering group of people. When Abraham was chosen the task assigned to him was to be a blessing for others. Unfortunately, his descendents instead of being a blessing; turned out to be a threat and curse to others. The temple was meant to be a place of divine-human encounter. However, slowly it turned out to be a market place where big business was going on. In the case of both individuals and institutions, as in the time of Jesus even today a regular cleansing is indispensable. Even if the call and the goal are genuine, thanks to our human weakness and situational enticements various sorts of business can replace the original purpose and passion. If not a whip at least a broom is essential for an occasional cleansing. Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2015-05-29

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Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

May 27, 2016

1 Pt 4: 7-13; Mk 11:11-26

Regular Cleansing Is Indispensable

Jesus and his disciples had a solemn entry into the city of Jerusalem escorted by women and children shouting ‘Hosanna’ to him. It said that he straight away went to the temple area. “He looked around at everything and, since it was already late, went out to Bethany with the Twelve.” This gives a slight hint to the intention of Jesus. We are told that Jesus looked around and saw all that was going on there but since it was too late he withdrew to Bethany, a nearby village. It seems that nobody offered him breakfast and therefore he had to search for figs on his way back to Jerusalem. The Evangelist makes it very clear that the fig tree was in leaf and it was not the season of fruits. Still Jesus who was hungry hoped that he could find at least some fruits to satiate his hunger. But there was none. Jesus cursed the tree, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” and it withered. The biblical scholars have come up with various explanations to clarify and justify the action of Jesus. According to them the fig tree is a symbol of Israel or the temple of Jerusalem, which was flourishing in business yet failing in its purpose or goal.

The selection of Israel had a purpose and the erection of the temple had a motive. However, Israel became a self-engrossed, self-preoccupied, self-catering group of people. When Abraham was chosen the task assigned to him was to be a blessing for others.

Unfortunately, his descendents instead of being a blessing; turned out to be a threat and curse to others. The temple was meant to be a place of divine-human encounter. However, slowly it turned out to be a market place where big business was going on. In the case of both individuals and institutions, as in the time of Jesus even today a regular cleansing is indispensable. Even if the call and the goal are genuine, thanks to our human weakness and situational enticements various sorts of business can replace the original purpose and passion. If not a whip at least a broom is essential for an occasional cleansing. Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-05-27

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FRIDAY OF THE 8TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – MARCOS 11:11-26. UNSA MAY MAHIMO SA DAKONG PAGTOO DIHA SA ATONG KINABUHI? Si Hesus nagtudlo: “Kon kamo may pagtuo sa Dios, makasugo kamo niining bungtora, ‘Maalsa ka ug masalibag ngadto sa dagat.’ Kon kamo mag-ampo ug mangayog usa ka butang, tuohi nga madawat ninyo kini, ug mainyo gayod kini.” Para sa mga Judiyo, ang “bungtod” maoy hulagway sa mga kalisdanan sa kinabuhi. Tungod niini, ang tawo nga makasulbad sa mga problema ilang tawgon og “mountain remover”. Pinaagi ning gamay’ng kasayoran, atong masabot ang punto ni Hesus sa ebanghelyo karon. Kon kita mag-ampo nga puno sa pagtoo, madawat nato gikan sa Dios ang kahibalo ug katakos sa pagsulbad sa bisan unsang matang sa kalisdanan ning kinabuhi. Sakto ang giingon: “With faith you can move mountains, with doubt you can create them.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/05/friday-of-8th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Reflection for May 27, Friday of the Eighth Week in OT; Mark 11:11-26

Reflection: Why did Jesus cursed the powerless and innocent fig tree? Because it was not bearing fruit. What is our responsibility as followers of Jesus? We should not become barren followers. We should instead become fruit bearing followers of Jesus.

This means that we have to share our faith thus we don’t become a fig tree that does not bear fruit. Have you already shared your faith in Jesus? If yes you are already a fruitful follower of the Lord.

The cursing of the fig tree was a symbolic show of Jesus’ power that was unfortunately not properly discerned by His followers. It was a silent message for them that they have to be productive followers and not followers in name only.

To become a productive or fruit bearing follower of Jesus is to be engaged in the ministry of evangelization of Jesus. Have you tried to evangelize anyone? Say for example a member of your immediate family, friend or a neighbor?

Are you a productive follower of Jesus or a follower in name only? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2016/05/reflection-for-may-27-friday-of-eighth.html

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 BE CALM – Early in my seminary formation, one of my professors accused me of disrespecting him with a gesture he thought I was purposely making at his expense. He was so incensed that he berated me in front of the whole class. I was embarrassed beyond measure. To add insult to the injury, I received a very low mark in the written exams that followed. I felt I was unjustly treated. After the semester, I told my spiritual director I wanted to quit seminary.

“Take it easy,” he said. “Don’t make life-changing decisions when you are at the height of your emotions. Settle down. Listen to the promptings of the Spirit. Then make your decision.” At his suggestion, I took some days of silence and reflection. When I spoke to him again, I realized I was rushing into a decision I could forever regret. Since then, I have kept that principle in mind. Modern-day counselors express it differently today: “Don’t do something permanently stupid just because you are temporarily upset.”

Soon after the resurrection, there was a feeling among the first Christian believers that the end of the world will soon come. When that happens, Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead. There was a combination of excitement, fear, trepidation and vindication in the community. Peter, in the First Reading, is trying to assuage the situation: “The consummation of all is close at hand. Therefore do not be perturbed; remain calm so that you will be able to pray” (v. 7).

How can we keep a lifestyle of “spiritual calm” that Peter recommends in the First Reading? First, familiarize yourself with the Word of God. A prayerful familiarity with God’s Word will always come in handy when we need to minister to ourselves and others in moments of disquiet. Secondly, have a regular time for adoration. A friend of mine described her prayer time as a “SPA” (solace in prayer and adoration) experience. In front of the Real Presence, practice the biblical invitation: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you give yourself a regular SPA treatment?

“Why are you cast down, my soul, why groan within me? Hope in God, I will praise Him still. My savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-05-27

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 May 27, 2016

REFLECTION: In electronics a circuit breaker is “a device that under abnormal circumstances, such as a short circuit, stops the flow of current in an electrical circuit” (Collins Dictionary).

In today’s gospel reading we hear Jesus make a strong recommendation which might appear strange at first sight. He says, “When you stand to pray, if you have anything against anyone, forgive so that your heavenly Father may also forgive your sins.”

Two ideas are implied in this recommendation. First, it is suggested that, if I wish to pray, it must be with a clear conscience, that is, with no conscious sin still unrepented. And this is only logical. I can hardly address God in prayer and hope being heard by him if, at the same time, I reject his will on me by an unrepented sin. Second, not forgiving someone whom I believe has wronged me acts as a sort of circuit breaker. It stops the flow of my relationship with God. Why? Because God is pure forgiveness, and by refusing to forgive I am no longer attuned to him. We are no longer on the same wave-length. We can no longer communicate.

Forgiving others is vital for my relationship with God.

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3546-may-27-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Friday of the 8th Week of the Year

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