Friday of the 10th Week of the Year

2Cor 4:7-15; Matt 5:27-32

Teaching about Adultery and Divorce

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your who body thrown into Gehenna,” (v. 29).

But Jesus is not saying literally that if your hands commit sin, you must cut it off and throw them away or if your eye commits sin tear it out and throw it away. Or else become chop-chop lady if we do these every time we commit sin. What Jesus wanted his disciples to do in the best of their ability is to avoid committing sins. That which could lead one to sin must be shunned at all cost.

Sin, nowadays, is becoming unpopular. Before Vatican II council, we, especially the Catholics laid too much stress on sin. Our theologians discussed and categorized different types of sins. Like for example, we have mortal and venial sins and different degrees of sinfulness. Now the tables are turned down.

Let us always remember this that sin exists and will always exist. To evade it, not to talk about it to other people is a kind of escapism. Let us also balance our notion of sin. When we talk about sin, let us also talk about God’s love in us because when Christ came he didn’t speak so much about sin. He seemed, rather, to have a special love for sinners – not of course, for sin.

What then is sin? In the view of Christ it seems to be a cutting oneself off from the love of God. So whatever wrong I do, whether I lie or I steal or I fornicate or I overindulge in some, I don’t allow love to operate and I don’t allow the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen me.

What causes you to sin? Is it but prudent to avoid any occasion that could lead you to sin?

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The words of Jesus are not to be taken literally. What they mean is that anything that leads to sin be ruthlessly noted out. If there is a habit that can be a seduction to evil, if there is an association or friendship that can be the cause of wrongdoing, if there is a pleasure that could turn out to be our ruin, then that thing must be surgically excised from our life.

Coming immediately after the passage which deals with forbidden thoughts and desires, this gospel reading compels us to ask: How shall we free ourselves from these unclean desires and defiling thoughts.

There are two ways to defeat forbidden thoughts:

The first way is by Christian action. The best way to defeat such thoughts is to do something, to fill life with Christian service that there is no time for these thoughts to enter in; to think so much of others that in the end we entirely forget ourselves; to rid ourselves of morbid introspection by concentrating not on ourselves but on other people.  The real cure for evil thoughts is good action.

The second way is to fill the mind with good thoughts. Think of lovely things. Think of wonderful thoughts and memories. The only way to defeat evil thoughts is to begin to think of something else.

If anyone is harassed by thoughts of forbidden and unclean things, he will certainly never defeat the evil things by withdrawing from life and saying: “I will not think of these things.” He can do so only by plunging into Christian action and Christian thought. (Fr. Louie Punzalan, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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A story is told of a young girl who accepted Christ as her Savior and applied for membership in an organization in their parish. ‘Were you a sinner before you received the Lord Jesus into your life?” inquired the chairman. “Yes sir,” she replied. “Well are you still a sinner?” “To tell you the truth, I feel I’m a greater sinner than ever.” “Then what real change have you experienced?” ‘I don’t quite know how to explain it,” she said, “except that I used to be sinner running after sin, but now that I am saved, I’m a sinner running from sin!” she was accepted. And she proved by her consistent life that she was truly converted.

In the gospel of today, Jesus is using forceful language to urge his disciples to choose a life rooted in God. He does not want them to perish by choosing death through separation from His loving presence. Jesus is guiding His disciples to reach the goal in life that is worthy of any sacrifice. This is conformity to the will of God who desires our well-being.

Some patients undergo operation in order to preserve the life of the whole body. It is true with our life as Christians, we must be ready to part with anything that causes us to sin. We must be willing to give up attachments which inevitably lead to spiritual death. Jesus gives us also a stern warning against becoming stumbling blocks for others. We must not give offense or bad example that might lad another to sin.

We need to ask God’s help to start a new beginning within ourselves. We implore His Holy Spirit to instill in us a greater love for His commandments. We plead Him to give us a burning desire to live a life of righteousness and holiness. We invoke His guidance to purify and transform us that we may be fully conformed into the likeness of Christ (Fr. Marione Ramirez, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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Everyone in the gospels, Jesus spoke unrelentingly against hypocrisy, the problem of a clean outside and a corrupt inside. With His sharp discerning mind and His keen understanding of human psychology, he went into the very core of things. He says in today’s gospel: “Everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” It’s where your heart is that counts! Jesus also told his followers: “No evil comes to you from the outside but from within. Your mouth speaks from the overflow of your heart!” again He said: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.” It is deep in the core of our being,, then, that human goodness and uprightness must dwell.

Jesus is not deceived by a false front; He sees into our very hearts and knows inside the motives of our actions. We cannot fool Him with invented excuses. By His very strong statement about “plucking out your eye if it leads you to sin.” Jesus is saying that he holds us responsible for what is going on in our minds and our hearts. We must uproot corruption at its very source and direct our wills into a pure desire for God. (Fr. Denny Lucas, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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It was reported that when the late Jimmy Carter was running for president of the United States, he got into trouble for giving an interview with the Playboy Magazine. He was asked whether he ever committed adultery. Carter said, ‘yes.’ Shocked by the response, the interviewer asked for an explanation. Carter acknowledged that in his heart he had lusted after women other than his wife. He had entertained lustful thoughts, true, he did not act on these desires but he considered himself guilty of adultery. Such an explanation showed how Jimmy Carter understood the teaching of Jesus that “everyone who looks at a woman with lust had already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

What man acts out comes from the mind and what is in the mind is first perceived by the senses. No one is immune from lustful thoughts and actions. These thoughts and actions however are not coming from thin air. They come from desires activated by some bad practices like viewing or reading illicit and pornographic movies, TV shows, internet websites, books and magazines.

Morally speaking, when a person has consciously decided to commit something wrong, the moral evil is already there in the intention of the heart.

To avoid this dangerous state of being and in respo0nse to the warning of the Lord’s in today’s gospel reading, it could be of help to meditate on this popular proverb: “Sow a thought and reap an act. Sow an act and reap a habit. Sow a habit and reap a character. Sow a character and reap a destiny.”

By the power of the Word and through the grace of God, may we learn to discipline our thoughts. Maintain purity of heart and come to our heavenly destiny. (Fr. Emmanuel de Leon, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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In our country, issues of unfaithfulness in marriage are seemingly easy to handle because our society frowns upon separation and our legal system does not allow divorce. Seldom do we hear troubled couples resorting to legal separation as a remedy because it only allows separation in bed and board but it does not resolve the marriage. The only way to be totally separated is to have the marriage annulled which requires which requires a more tedious legal process.

If there is anything good about our laws, it is the fact that they clearly reflect a very Catholic maka-pamilya culture which upholds the indissolubility of marriage. But alas, Filipino couples nowadays, simply separate without going through the legal process, not only because it is tedious but also because our society has become more permissive to couples separating for many seemingly valid, nay, flimsy reasons with painful consequences.

Jesus in our gospel today touches not only on mere legalisms or any outward signs of a sexual sin, like adultery or any sin for that matter but also the very core where sinfulness starts –  in the heart of our hearts. He tells us that while we loathe an adulterous act, our evil desires or inner thoughts can be as morally bad.

It is therefore not surprising for Jesus to suggest tearing out the eyes and cutting off the hand that causes us to sin. Not to be taken literally such teaching reinforces the idea that anything that causes us to sin, eyes and hand included, should be rid off. Now perhaps, we can stop awhile and examine our attitudes, thoughts and actions. We rise or fall, with heaven or hell with what we brood or think over and do. Jesus forewarns us but the choice is always ours. Otherwise, we all together lose our souls in hell. (Frt. Jong Biton, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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Our gospel today is somehow disturbing and controversial because it deals with sensitive issues like divorce, adultery and the reality of hell.

What does Jesus really mean when he says “tear out eye or cut off your hand and throw them away if they cause you to sin?” Jesus wants us to choose life and happiness by doing what is good rather than choosing death and suffering by doing evil. Because by doing good we are conforming ourselves to the law and will of God and our faith becomes stronger. But every time we commit sin our faith is weakened and slowly we are separating ourselves from God and we can be easily lured by the devil into his side. Therefore, let us be vigilant and guard ourselves from the snares of the devil as what St. Peter says: “Be sober-minded; be watchful your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1Pt 5:8). Our eyes and hands are the two most important body parts that we use in order to see, feel and acquire the things around us. What are our eyes for? It is to indulge in sinful things or seeing the goodness and wonders of God? And what are our hands made for? Is it to do evil or to do the will of God? That’s why we should refocus our eyes on God and to reform our actions according to His will. Let us also cleanse our eyes from the specks of sin to see clearly the ways of God and free our hands from the snares of materialism and greed so that we are free to do God’s will. Moreover, we need also to cleanse our hearts and minds from evil desires that cause us to crave and ultimately to commit sin because as Jesus says all evil desires spring from the heart. That is why adultery and divorce must first be dealt within the heart, the place not only of emotions, but of knowledge and will as well. It is in the heart that we discover the true commandment of God because God’s law is inscribed in our hearts and it guides us to live a righteous life and our conscience tells us about this truth. There is innate goodness in us; deep inside us we know what is good and bad. That is why ultimately everything starts in the heart. Is our heart beating for God or for the devil? (Fr. Joey Ruega, Bible Diary 2013)

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June 10, 2016 Friday

On my way from Manila to our SVD Mission Center in San Jose, Batangas, I told my driver “mag rosary na tayo.” As I was bringing out my rosary from my pocket, the driver went to the side of the road, and pointed to me the grocery!

What is in your heart? “Rosary” or “grocery?” What preoccupies your mind most of the time? What are your priorities? May we not forget the Lord in the midst of so many worldly activities and concerns.

Let us be reminded today that the most important journey in life is our journey to God’s  heart. Let not our financial journey, career journey, popularity journey, power journey, etc. divert or prevent us from coming closer to God’s heart. The bottom line is that it profits us nothing if we gain the whole world, and in the end lose our souls. Today, in prayer, heart-to-heart, let us ask our Lord and our Blessed Mother to help us see what is really in our hearts, and to remove whatever destroys our clarity of purpose and purity of heart.

“May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word and the spirit of grace. And may the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all.” (St. Arnold Janssen, SVD) Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD | San Jose, Batangas Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/daily-reflection/700-june-10-2016-friday

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Teaching about Adultery and Divorce

Mt 5:27-32

[Jesus said to his disciples,] 27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

31“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.’ 32But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Reflection:

Tear it out and throw it away. When Jesus speaks of tearing out an eye or cutting off a hand if it causes one to sin, he teaches us the supreme necessity of being upright of heart. Better for us to lose everything rather than be separated from God. St. Louis IX of France told his son that he would rather see him dead than witness his son commit mortal sin. St. Dominic Savio, a young saint, said, “Better death than sin.”

In practice, we must find out if there is any relationship or activity or group that causes us to sin and separates us from God. If there is, let us cut it off from our life. If we feel we cannot cut it off, let us ask God for the grace to cut it off. He will give us that grace as he has given it to countless others, like St. Augustine.

 To overcome temptation,

you need both to cultivate virtue and to avoid sin.

 graceandspace.org/welcome/home/365-days-with-the-lord/1746-teaching-about-adultery-and-divorce-.html

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How do we stay in the right path? Prayerful reflection of the words of Jesus, stripping these words of their dated and culture-conditioned meanings, we can digest the following exhortations:

  • Embrace a life of discipline. We should know how to practice self-denial and self-control. Sin, being a destructive force, must not be pampered, delays, procrastinations, compromises can turn “deadly.” Halfway measures, halfhearted efforts to resist, can only make sin more “forceful.”
  • Think eternity. We should remember that all things in this world – including our urges and urgings – are passing. We should continuously pray what the Psalmist invites us to say: “I long to see your face, O Lord,” (Ps 27 – for Year II). (Fr. Domie Guzman, New Every Morning New Everyday, 2006:191).

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Teaching about Adultery and Divorce – Mt 5:27-32

[Jesus said to his disciples,] 27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

31“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.’ 32But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Reflection: Tear it out and throw it away. When Jesus speaks of tearing out an eye or cutting off a hand if it causes one to sin, he teaches us the supreme necessity of being upright of heart. Better for us to lose everything rather than be separated from God. St. Louis IX of France told his son that he would rather see him dead than witness his son commit mortal sin. St. Dominic Savio, a young saint, said, “Better death than sin.”

In practice, we must find out if there is any relationship or activity or group that causes us to sin and separates us from God. If there is, let us cut it off from our life. If we feel we cannot cut it off, let us ask God for the grace to cut it off. He will give us that grace as he has given it to countless others, like St. Augustine.

To overcome temptation, you need both to cultivate virtue and to avoid sin.

graceandspace.org/welcome/home/365-days-with-the-lord/1746-teaching-about-adultery-and-divorce-.html

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A CUT ABOVE THE REST: “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you….” – Matthew 5:30

Aron Lee Ralston is widely known for having survived a canyoneering accident in Utah in 2003, during which he amputated his own right arm with a dull multi-tool in order to free himself from a dislodged boulder that had trapped him there for five days and seven hours. After he freed himself, he had to climb down a 65-foot cliff face to reach safety. He documented  this in his book Between a Rock and a Hard Place. He doesn’t see what he went through at the time he lost his arm but rather, when he got back his life.

Hopefully we don’t have to reach that point where we have to physically cut off a body part, too. But there may come a time when we may find ourselves between a rock and a hard place, like maybe finding a bag with the money you desperately need at the moment to pay for your son’s operation. Or getting a big bonus at work for keeping quiet about some anomalous transaction. It’s like deciding between the devil and the deep blue sea. Our choice will reveal who the real Lord of our life is. Ronna Ledesma (ronna_ledesma@yahoo.com.ph)

Reflection: “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:26)

Abba, grant me the courage to “cut off” whatever is necessary when I find myself being tempted.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-06-13

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1ST READING: Sometimes we find God in the least expected places. This is all part of the mystery of how God works. We should never forget the many stories in the Scriptures that detail the unexpected appearances of God in the midst of His people, not the least His being born to a virgin and with a manger as His bed. Let us open our hearts to God wherever He may be and in whatever form He comes into our lives. 1 Kings 19:9, 11-16

GOSPEL: Sin is a horrible thing that we should avoid at all costs. Jesus never sins but He has experienced the effects of sin by living in our midst as a man. He knows the struggles we face with temptation. Let us be inspired by how He rejected all temptation as we seek to grow in discipleship. Let us realize that we should do everything in our power to avoid the horror of allowing sin to reign in our lives. Matthew 5:27-32

think:  Let us open our hearts to God wherever He may be and in whatever form He comes into our lives.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-06-13

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BLESSED ARE THE PURE OF HEART: Jesus challenges those who follow Him to love all people with utmost respect and purity. It is a call to treat one another as true sisters and brothers in the Lord. St. John reminds us that the world, with all its lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride, has nothing to offer those in relationship with the Father (1 John 2:16). Lust is one of the capital sins and Jesus warns us in the Gospel that to even look at a woman (or man, for that matter) is an act of adultery. Adultery is taking another’s spouse for one’s sexual pleasure.  Adulterers have no place in the Kingdom of God. Taking it a step further, Jesus remarks that to marry a divorced woman is an act of adultery. Marriage is a serious relationship and should be upheld with utmost respect. It is a sign of God’s love for His people and Christ’s love for His Church.

In a world where sexual immorality is rampant and seemingly rising, the Christian stands as a great witness to purity and chastity. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” is one of the Beatitudes of Jesus. If lust seems a problem, then we need to deal with it. Jesus comments to tear the eye or hand out rather than lose the whole body and enter hell. This is strong language indeed, and not to be taken literally. Nevertheless, it calls for drastic measures. We should never allow lust to take hold of our lives because it has a power of its own that leads to death.

All of us are created in the image and likeness of God. Let us thank God for the gift of beauty in one another. Indeed, how great God is in creating all races of people unique in His eyes. Lust distorts our attitudes and behavior. We must pray and fight the battle for the grace of chastity, a right ordering of our sexuality in whatever state of life we are in — married, consecrated or single. We all belong to the Lord.

Let us offer to the Lord our body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to the Lord (Romans 12:1). We are members of the Body of Christ and He is the head. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Is your heart pure? Are you a chaste person?

Lord, give me the grace of purity. Let me see others through Your eyes of love. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-06-13

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Custody of the Eyes: What it is and How to Practice It

by The Catholic Gentleman on Jun 12, 2014 • 7:05 am

Oh! how many are lost by indulging their sight!  – St. Alphonsus de Ligouri

If your eye offends you, pluck it out. – Jesus

We live in a hyper-sexualized, even pornified culture, and if you’re a man who wants to be pure, you’re going to be involved in a constant warfare against lust. Everything from toothpaste commercials to weight loss ads have some sort of sexual spin. After all, as they say, sex sells.

Then there is the rampant immodesty in women’s dress (even in church, sadly), including mini-shorts, crop tops, and leggings worn as pants. Popular TV shows are filled with graphic sex, and celebrities dress in see-through clothing—that is, when they aren’t releasing nude photos of themselves.

Now, these temptations are so powerful because they involve our sight—one of the most potent of our senses, especially for us men. What we see is indelibly etched into our memories, and we can never truly un-see anything. Additionally, our sight has a powerful connection to what we want. Radio ads will never be as effective as TV ads, because hearing simply isn’t as strong a sense as sight.

Today I want to talk about an ancient Catholic practice that can help us combat temptations to lust: Custodia occulorum, or custody of the eyes.

What is it

At its most basic level, custody of the eyes simply means controlling what you allow yourself to see. It means guarding your sense of sight carefully, realizing that what you view will leave an indelible mark on your soul.

Many of the saints, in their zeal for purity, would never look anyone in the face. “To avoid the sight of dangerous objects, the saints were accustomed to keep their eyes almost continually fixed on the earth, and to abstain even from looking at innocent objects,” says St. Alphonsus de Liguori.

Now, staring at the floor at all times is a bit extreme for most of us, but it does demonstrate the seriousness with which the saints viewed the importance of purity. They teach us that is simply impossible to allow hundreds of immodest images into our minds, however innocently, and remain pure.

Of course, to the modern mind, this guarding of the eyes is rather quaint and even ridiculous. How prudish, many would think, to think that we should exercise any control over what we see. And yet, if we care about our souls, we have no other option.

How to Practice It

The best place to begin practicing custody of the eyes is in the things which we can control, such as movies, magazines, or television shows. If your favorite TV show has a sex scene every 5 minutes, you need to cut it out of your life. It’s not worth the temptation. In short, don’t consume things that are occasions of sin. Carelessly putting yourself in spiritual danger in this way is a grave sin itself, so take it seriously.

It’s actually rather easy to edit what you consume. But what about the things we can’t control, such as the immodestly dressed woman walking past you? This takes far more prayer-fueled discipline and practice. That said, here are some suggestions.

First, if you’re struggling with the way a woman is dressed, immediately look at her face. I don’t care how beautiful a woman is, it is essentially impossible to lust after someone’s face. The face is the icon of each person’s humanity, and it is far easier to respect a woman’s dignity when you’re looking at her face and not her body.

Second, it may just be appropriate to stare at the floor sometimes, especially if there’s no other way to avoid temptation. This doesn’t have to be the norm, but if the situation warrants it, it is foolish not to do so.

Third, avoid places you know are especially problematic for you. For most men, the beach is a problem. Dozens of women in tiny bikinis is just too much. If that’s the case for you, avoid the beach.

Finally, fast and pray. This should go without saying, and yet I am always amazed that men think they can control themselves without God’s help. It simply isn’t possible. We always need grace in the battle against concupiscence, and if we trust in ourselves and our own willpower, we will do nothing but fail.

Conclusion

Yes, temptation is everywhere, but we are not helpless victims. We must take the need for purity seriously, and that means guarding carefully what we allow ourselves to see. Through prayer, fasting, and practice, we can learn to take control of our eyes and avoid temptation. This isn’t quaint and archaic—it’s basic to spiritual survival.

Let us call upon our most pure Lady and her chaste husband St. Joseph, begging their intercession for our purity.

catholicgentleman.net/2014/06/custody-of-the-eyes-what-it-is-and-how-to-practice-it/

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

FRIDAY OF THE 10TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C) – MATEO 5:27-32. UNSA MAY ATONG BUHATON SA MGA TAWO NGA MAGDANI KANATO SA PAGPAKASALA? Si Hesus miingon: “Kon ang imong tuong mata makaangin kanimo sa pagpakasala lugita kini ug ibalibag, kay mas maayo pa kanimo nga kawad-an ang imong lawas og usa ka bahin kaysa itambog ang tibuok mong lawas ngadto sa impyerno.” Kining maong panultihon dili angay sabton sa iyang mga letra kondili sa iyang nagpaluyo nga mensahe. Ang mga tawo nga magdasig kanato sa pagbuhat og daotan angay gayod natong likayan ug biyaan. Ang atong mga higala atong unongan sa maayong binuhatan, apan dili sa daotan. Si San Pablo nag-ingon: “Ayaw kamo patunto. Ang daotang mga kauban makadaot sa maayong pamatasan” (1 Cor 15:33). Sakto ang giingon, “We cannot hang out with bad people and expect a good, moral life.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2016/06/friday-of-10th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Friday of the 10th Week of the Year

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