A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday and Weekday Liturgy

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 10, n.33)

WEEK 14 IN ORDINARY TIME: July 8-14, 2012 ***

 

(N.B. The pastoral tool BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD: A LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY LITURGY includes a prayerful study of the Sunday liturgy of Year B from three perspectives. For reflections on the Sunday liturgy based on the Gospel reading, please scroll up to the “ARCHIVES” above and open Series 1. For reflections based on the Old Testament reading, open Series 4. For reflections based on the Second Reading, open Series 7. Please go to Series 10 for the back issues of the Weekday Lectio.

 

Below is a LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY - WEEKDAY LITURGY: July 8-14, 2012. The following reflections are based on the weekday liturgy’s Gospel reading.)

 

***

 

July 8, 2012: 14th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Was Rejected by His Own”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Ez 2:2-5 // II Cor 12:7-10  // Mk 6:1-6a

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

            The following story narrated by Anthony de Mello in his book, The Song of the Bird, illustrates poignantly the irony contained in today’s Gospel reading (Mk 6:1-6). 

Nasruddin earned his living selling eggs. Someone came to his shop one day and said, “Guess what I have in my hand.” “Give me a clue,” said Nasruddin. “I shall give you several: It has the shape of an egg, the size of an egg. It looks like an egg, tastes like an egg, and smells like an egg. Inside it is yellow and white. It is liquid before it is cooked, becomes thick when heated. It was, moreover, laid by a hen.” “Aha! I know!” said Nasruddin. “It is some sort of cake!” 

            It is ironic. The expert misses the obvious. And it was also with irony that the neighbors of Jesus of Nazareth miss the obvious. They think they know every detail about him. In purporting to have complete knowledge of his personal data, they end up showing their ignorance. Their knowledge of “the carpenter, the son of Mary” is superficial. Their prejudice prevents them from believing and responding to the Christ, the Son of God. 

In today’s Gospel episode, we come face to face with the mystery of a resisting and unbelieving heart. Mark’s narrative illustrates the possibility and reality of closing one’s heart and mind to the Prophet of truth and Savior of the world. It is ironic that the saving Lord, who would be the object of Peter’s faith declaration: “You are the Christ.” (Mk 8:30) and the centurion’s climactic confession at the foot of the cross: “Truly this man was the Son of God.” (Mk 15:39), is not welcomed by his townsfolk. According to Mark, “they took offense at him”. They were prejudiced by the utter ordinariness of his background. 

The account of the people’s rejection of Jesus serves as a transition point. It bridges the greatest of Jesus’ miracles in his Galilean ministry, the raising of the daughter of Jairus to life (Mk 5:35-43), with the sharing of his healing power with the disciples (Mk 6:7-13). According to Edward Mally, “The significance of this episode is obvious: it is a dramatic and tragic end of Jesus’ Galilean ministry foreshadowing the greater rejection of Israel; at the same time, it signals a new phase of the ministry in which the Twelve will play a more active role as an anticipation of the mission of the apostolic Church, especially toward those outside Judaism.” Indeed, this transitional passage underlines that Jesus’ preaching will also meet failure. Disappointment and rejection are part and parcel of the mission of Jesus, as well as, of his disciples and the Church. 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO 

Do we believe in Jesus as the true prophet? How deep is our faith in Jesus? Is it deep enough to allow him to be effective in our life? 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Lord Jesus,

your neighbors were scandalized by your humble “roots”.

They were prejudiced because you were “only” a carpenter,

and they knew you “so well” as the son of Mary.

They took offense at your ordinariness.

Through their lack of faith,

they have closed their hearts to the mighty deeds

you would have performed in Nazareth.

Jesus, have mercy on us!

Forgive us for the many times we have rejected you.

We are sorry for the pain you have suffered on our account.

Grant us the grace of true faith in you.

You are the true prophet.

You speak the words of life.

We welcome you into our heart.

Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening.

We bless you and adore you,

now and forever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

            “And they took offense at him.” (Mk 6:3)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO   

 

Pray for those who share the Word, especially those experiencing rejection and difficulties, that they may be strengthened in their prophetic ministry. In reparation for the rejection suffered by Jesus from his neighbors, do not react negatively to someone who treats you with hostility, but rather, respond to him/her with an act of kindness. 

 

 

***

 

July 9, 2012: MONDAY – WEEKDAY (14); SAINT AUGUSTINE ZHAO RONG, priest, AND COMPANIONS, martyrs

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Is the Lord of Life”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Hos 2:16,17b-18,21-22 // Mt 9:18-26

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

Today’s Gospel reading is a glorious celebration of life. It tells of the restoration of the fullness of life to a hemorrhaging woman and to a young dying girl. To both, Jesus brings life and brings it gladly. The woman healed of her bleeding and the little girl whom Jesus raised from the dead will die again. But because of Jesus’ benevolent actions on their behalf, their chances for eternal and unending life are enhanced. Their contact with Jesus is transforming and radically life-giving. In the same way, we are being challenged today to improve and enhance the quality of our own life and of that of everyone. The Lord Jesus wants to give life and build a new world through us.

 

The following story testifies to the endeavors of Christian disciples of today to bring life to a death-dealing situation (cf. Deacon Darrell Smerz in “Missioner Tales” in MARYKNOLL, May-June 2012, p. 10).

 

A few years back, St. Mary’s Parish in Tomahawk, Wis., passed a resolution to adopt a sister parish. I contacted Father Leo Shea of Maryknoll and we were assigned a parish in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. A year later, our pastor and I visited that city, where Maryknoll Father David La Buda hosted us around many of the barrios. What a revelation! Of the many experiences, one stands out the most.

 

A 15-year old girl lay on a worn mattress on a dirt floor with one leg swollen three times the size of the other. The following day in the rain we placed her on a flat board in the uncovered back of a pickup truck to take her to the hospital 13 miles away. I held an umbrella over her head as we made the journey with her father. She was diagnosed with cancer and our parish paid for the amputation.

 

Months later the girl died, but she had remarked that the months after the amputation had given her great relief from pain. I’ll never forget that journey in the rain in the back of the open truck with the open umbrella over our heads.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Do we trust in Jesus, the Lord of life? What do we do to promote life in death-dealing situations?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Jesus our love and comfort,

you are the Lord of Life.

Following your example,

we choose to affirm the power of life over death.

Let your Holy Spirit strengthen us

that we may not despair

when weakness overwhelms us

and the specter of death haunts us.

We cling to you in faith

and your healing power will flow unto us.

Help us, dear Jesus,

to promote life in death-dealing situations.

With you, we celebrate the power of life.

You live and reign,

forever and ever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“The woman was cured … the little girl arose.” (cf. Mt 9:22,25)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Be devoted to the defense of life and the enhancement of the quality of life. By your charitable actions and care for the sick and suffering, let the healing power of Jesus prevail over death-dealing situations.

 

 

***

 

July 10, 2012: TUESDAY - WEEKDAY (14)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Is the Lord of Compassion”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Hos 8:4-7,11-13 // Mt 9:32-38

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

(By Sr. Mary Angeli Tangkilan, PDDM)

 

The gospel passage illustrates the ministry of Jesus and gives insight into the mission and challenge of every Christian. Casting out devils, preaching the reign of God, and healing the sick are Jesus’ concrete acts of compassion upon seeing the brokenness in humanity. Too many human beings are suffering in dire poverty, hunger, and even “spiritual diseases”, such as anger, despair, fear, worldly attachment and the like. Until now, this same human condition has been persisting in refusal of God’s unconditional love. That is why, when Jesus came into this world, he not only saved humanity from its sinfulness but also embodied the essence of being human, showing us how to live and love one another.

 

Jesus, who exemplifies our true human identity, is no doubt a challenge for us who profess that he is the Lord.  We claim to be his disciples. So, in one’s own little way, we are challenged to incarnate his compassion either in our own respective families, with our friends, colleagues, and most of all by our loving concern for those who are oppressed and marginalized. In addition, we should also consistently pray to the Lord to send out more people who will devote and live their life purely for Jesus’ sake. And as disciples of Jesus, we should also bear in mind that taking up the challenge is not easy. It is a life of contradictions, criticisms and hostility. Indeed, to follow Jesus is difficult and thorny. Yet only in this way can we find true happiness in this life and be supremely happy with him forever in the next.

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

Do we endeavor to live out the compassion of Jesus who was moved with pity because the crowds pursuing him were like sheep without a shepherd? Do we pray that the master of the harvest may send out laborers for his harvest?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Loving Jesus,

you are the Lord of compassion.

You pity the hapless crowds

who are troubled and abandoned.

They are like sheep without a shepherd.

Give us the gift of compassion

that we may respond in service

to the needs of the poor and vulnerable.

Together with you,

we pray that the master of the harvest

may send out laborers for his harvest.

We love you, dear Jesus.

You live and reign,

forever and ever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“His heart was moved with pity for them.”  (Mt 9:36)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

By your words and actions, bring the compassion of Jesus to the people around you. Pray the following invocation: “O Jesus, eternal Shepherd of our souls; send good laborers into your harvest.”

 

 

***

 

July 11, 2012: WEDNESDAY – SAINT BENEDICT, abbot

 “JESUS SAVIOR: He Summons and Sends His Disciples”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Hos 10:1-3,7-8,12 // Mt 10:1-7

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

(By Mary Anthony E. Basa, PDDM) 

 

Jesus called the twelve disciples and sent them on a mission to the lost sheep of the people of Israel.  We have just celebrated the 1st foundation anniversary of the presence of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master in Iligan City in Mindanao, last June 26.  I remember very well the time when the three of us (with Sr. John Paul and Sr. Elizabeth) were called to be the first Sisters in the new foundation.  Iligan is a place that I do not know much about and, though I can understand a little, I do not speak the language. It is also a place where the peace situation is not very stable. How can one assigned in the liturgical and biblical ministry cope with the limitations of language?  When one animates a liturgical celebration and shares the Bible, it should be in the vernacular.  

 

As we begin our mission, I have experienced how the grace of God works. I have realized that serving others is not just about knowing the language or being familiar with the place.  The message of God’s reign is preached in loving deeds and compassion.  More than anyone else, I am the one who is formed and moved to conversion as I tend to the people of Iligan.  When the city was hit by typhoon “Sendong”, thousands of people lost their homes, loved ones and properties. The call to reach out to the lost sheep became a real mission and a pastoral challenge for us as Sister Disciples.  When God calls us for a mission, we need not fear because He will bless us with all the graces we need most in order to fulfil that mission.   

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Do we thank Jesus for calling his disciples in order to send them out and become his loving compassion for others?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO 

 

Jesus, font of love and God’s living compassion,

we thank you for your summons

and for the healing power you have given us

as your disciples.

We thank you for our mission

to heal the sick and to drive out evil.

You send us to the “lost sheep”

that we may proclaim the transforming good news:

“The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Grant that we may have the grace

to correspond to the beauty of our vocation-mission

as Christian disciples in today’s world.

You live and reign,

forever and ever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“Jesus summoned his twelve disciples … Jesus sent out these twelve disciples.” (cf. Mt 10:1-5)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Let us thank the Lord for our vocation and mission as Christian disciples in today’s world. Let us discover meaningful ways to live out fully this gift of discipleship.

 

***

 

 

 July 12, 2012: THURSDAY – WEEKDAY (14)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Commissions His Disciples”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Hos 11:1-4,8c-9 // Mt 10:7-15

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

            The Burnham couple, Martin and Gracia, who were serving in the Philippines as missionaries, was captured by the dreaded Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group in Southern Philippines, whose primary activities were kidnapping and extortion. Gracia survived 14 months of terror in the jungle. On June 7, 2002, Martin died and Gracia was wounded in the shootout that resulted from the rescue attempt made by the Philippine Army. Gracia’s testimony revealed that Martin had been a missionary through and through. Thousands of people – including senators and ambassadors - attended Martin’s funeral at Wichita, Kansas. Gracia remarked: “They admired him most, perhaps, for what he stood for, what we all try to stand for. Nothing complicated. Just a simple, whole-hearted goodness. His death had not been in vain. He showed me what strength was. Faith. Faith in yourself, in those you love, and in God to be present in every moment of your life.” The missionary Martin Burnham is a modern-day example of a disciple sent by Jesus, one who had kept faith in him and had shown the world that faith is the inner strength to conquer evil. 

            Today’s Gospel reading is about the Lord who sends and the mission of the disciples he sent. The origin of the missionary vocation is Jesus who prepared the apostles for this important moment. It was Jesus who called them personally; it was he who selected the Twelve to be his companions and to be sent out to preach with the power to cast out devils. Taught by Jesus and present with him as he healed many from sickness and evil, the Twelve were sent out with tremendous healing power bestowed upon them. The task of those sent by Jesus is to bring the healing balm of peace and forgiveness to those wounded by sin and to drive out the power of evil.

            The missionaries of Jesus are to keep a simple life-style, bereft of material comforts and financial security. The Divine Master counsels the virtue of detachment, for without detachment the missionary’s attention cannot be centered on the Good News. Indeed, the life of missionaries is absolutely oriented to the task of preaching God’s kingdom. The missionaries must also contend with the possibility of not being welcomed and of not being listened to. In this case, they are simply replicating in their lives the destiny of the sending Lord who was rejected even by his neighbors in Nazareth. Indeed, the missionaries of all ages will be subjected to all kinds of trials. Their option is not violent reprisal, but humility and kindness. They accept the indignities of rejection and the painful process of “birthing” in order that the saving word of the Gospel may reach all the ends of the earth. 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

 
As Christian disciples today, do we trust in God who is lovingly involved in our lives? What is the specific apostolic mission addressed to us by Christ today? 

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Jesus Lord,

you have called us

and entrusted to us the Gospel

with its power to overcome evil.

You commission us to overcome

the death-dealing situations of today’s world

by the strength of your Holy Spirit.

You send us to touch the wounded

with the healing power of your love.

Enlighten the eyes of our hearts.

May we realize deeply

the dignity of our Christian vocation and mission.

You live and reign,

forever and ever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“As you go make this proclamation.” (Mt 10:7)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

Pray for all missionaries that they may carry out their mandate with absolute trust in God and apostolic zeal. Be a missionary to a person close to you and in need of the healing power of the Gospel. 

 

 

***

 

 July 13, 2012: FRIDAY – WEEKDAY (14); SAINT HENRY

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Warns Us of Persecution”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Hos 14:2-10 // Mt 10:16-23

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

(By Sr. Mary Mercedes Pineda, PDDM)

 

Many say that it is not easy to follow Christ or to be a good Christian. Our Lord himself did not promise wealth, comfort, prestige, or power to those who have followed him. Rather, in today’s Gospel, Jesus made his chosen disciples aware of what awaits them once they accept Him as their Lord and Master; for example, rejection, opposition, persecution and discrimination.

 

As we journey through life and grow in our faith, we encounter these sad realities, although in various ways and degree. We might experience them from people we love, from friends and associates, from strangers, from the community to which we belong, or in our workplace.

 

Rejection, opposition, persecution and discrimination are experienced due to differences in religious, political, cultural background and beliefs, perceptions and even sexual orientation. The Gospel values, that as Christians we try to live in fidelity to God, are opposed to the values of the world and this could give rise to the harsh realities in families, communities and in society.

 

How do we react to persecution, opposition, discrimination and rejection? Is our response “flight or fight?” How do we bear with them?

 

I remember when I joined a pilgrimage to the Holy Land coming from Rome. In Tel-Aviv airport, I was segregated from the rest of our group, invited to go to the immigration office to be interrogated, simply because I was carrying a Philippine passport. Our group included priests, religious men and women, and families. I was the only one from Asia. The rest were Europeans and Americans, who passed immigration without any difficulty. It was indeed a humiliating and painful experience of rejection and discrimination. However, I remained calm and composed, talking to the Lord in silent prayer: “Lord Jesus, this is an unpleasant joke!   See, I’m not welcome in your country. But thank you for this unexpected experience, because this is a chance to practice patience and humility. Amen.”

 

Jesus promised to give us the inner strength to endure such occurrences and to persevere in following him whatever would be the cost. We have only to trust and believe that He is always with us and in us.

 

In this Gospel text, we are invited and challenged to learn to take these negative realities as occasions for growth in faith, in our maturity to follow Christ and lastly, an opportunity to renew our commitment to Jesus our Lord.

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

What is our response to persecution? Do we trust in divine assistance when faced with rejection and persecution?

 

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

O Jesus, font of strength,

you send us like sheep in the midst of wolves.

You counsel us

to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves

in the midst of a troubled world.

We trust in your saving help.

We trust that the Holy Spirit

will put his words into our mouth

and will defend us from all evil.

We are hated on account of your name,

but we will endure with you to the end

and will be saved.

O mighty Jesus,

let our faith be strong

and our trust unyielding.

You live and reign,

forever and ever.

Amen.

 

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

            The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the week. Please memorize it.

 

“Whoever endures to the end will be saved.” (Mt 10:22) 

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

When experiencing rejection, trust in Jesus and pray for help and protection. When persecuted on account of your fidelity to Church teaching, ask the Lord for strength and endurance and the grace to refrain from a violent response.

 

 

***

 

 

July 14, 2012: SATURDAY – BLESSED KATERI TEKAKWITHA, virgin (USA)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Will Protect Us”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Is 6:1-8 // Mt 10:24-33

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

(By Dr. Rachel Quinto, Holy Family Institute, Fresno, CA-USA)

 

Many years ago and for a very long time, I had a recurrent nightmare that would wake me up in the middle of the night in cold sweat. I dreamed that someone or something was chasing me in the dark shadows. I was alone and feared for my life. No matter how fast I ran or imagined hiding places where I would not be seen, I sensed that I could never escape this thing’s sinister grip. Strangely enough, even when I was paralyzed with fear and could not move, I was not overcome by my pursuer. When I finally managed to wake up, I would find myself exhausted, as if from an actual ordeal.

 

Back then, I understood healing to be physical or psychological and via human intervention. Using my background in psychology and medicine, I tried to analyze the origin of this unsettling subconscious experience in order to hopefully resolve it. But my intellectual efforts met with failure. The nightmares managed to come back over and over again to haunt me.

 

My breakthrough came in a most unusual manner. As I grew in faith, I began to know the healing power of the Word of God. After reflecting on this very same passage, I decided to take Jesus at his word. With all the conviction I could gather consciously, I resolved that when the chase happens again in my sleep, I will not run away. In fact, I am determined to turn around and face my pursuer unafraid. I am totally convinced that the Lord will protect me from all danger. In fact, with the Lord beside me, not a single hair on my head will be touched by this evil that has been after me for a long time. After all, am I not worth more than many sparrows?

 

Miraculously, just like that, the nightmares ended.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Do we believe that God cares for us and that we are worth more than many sparrows? Do we try to overcome useless anxieties by putting our trust in the God who loves us?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Jesus Lord,

you care for us

and assure us that we are worth more than many sparrows.

Deliver us from evil and useless anxieties.

Help us to trust in you

and follow your counsel, “Do not be afraid.”

But above all, give us the grace

to acknowledge you

and follow the Father’s saving will.

You are our shield and sure protection.

We love you and put our trust in you,

now and forever.

Amen.

.

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Mt 10:31)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

When anxieties come, remember the words of Jesus: do not to be afraid for we are worth more than many sparrows. Spend some quiet time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, drawing strength from the Eucharistic Master.

 

***

 

 

Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang  PDDM

 

 

PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI

SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER

60 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314

Tel. (718) 494-8597 // (718) 761-2323

Website: WWW.PDDM.US

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