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January 2012

Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 7

Malankara Catholic Church St. Mary’s Mission Toronto St. Eugene’s Chapel ◊ 13 Regina Avenue ◊ Toronto, Ontario ◊ M6A 1R2 www.stmarysmalankaracatholicchurchtoronto.ca torontomalankaramission@gmail.com

The Editorial 3…2…1…Happy New Year! December was quite the eventful month, and what better way to wrap up yet another joyous year than to gather together as a family for a night of fun games, a shared meal, and entertainment. We celebrated the end of an amazing year with our annual parish night held on December 30th at Don Bosco School. The night started off with ice breakers and games held by the youth which was followed by a night jam packed with performances by our Sunday School children, youth, and parents alike. This year we were especially honoured to have Rev.Fr. Andrew MacBeth, Pastor of St.Margret’s Church not only join us for the evening, but also share with us a message and blessing for Christmas and the New Year. In this month’s bulletin, Amit Mathew’s column Snippets from ScienceGlimpses of God’s Beautiful Mind takes us on a journey to some of the mysteries of our beautiful earth with the space © St. Mary’s Malankara Catholic Church, Toronto

probe Voyager-1 in his article entitled “Journey to the Edge of Forever”. As we slowly return to the regular hustle and bustle of our daily routine, the happiness of Christmas still remains. With bright lights still trimming our homes, and the smell of gingerbread lingering in the air, we are still captivated in the trance of the “Christmas spirit”. As we remember trying to move through the busy crowds, our arms filled with gifts and wrapping paper, Rajesh Jacob asks us to take a moment as we stand in line to ask ourselves, “Was ‘Jesus’ Born in a Shopping Mall?” as we reflect on the true spirit of Christmas. As we welcome in 2012, let us be thankful to God for his abiding grace that has carried us through. Our hope and wish for all of you is a year full of happiness as we journey together to come close with Lord. ~ The Editors

MONTHLY EVENTS Jan 7  Youth Famine John & Jincy’s residence (9 am)  Pastoral Council Meeting Jan 8  Parish Council Meeting  Youth Meeting Jan 15  Parish General Body Meeting

Sunday Liturgy 2:30 PM Sunday School 4:00 PM Prayers 3:30 PM – 4:15 PM Confessions 4:30 PM Holy Qurbono

Contact Information: Fr. John Kuriakose, 222 Ridley Blvd, Toronto, ON, M5M 3M6 Tel: (416) 485 7781 daijuak@gmail.com

Inside the Issue New Year Message

2

Snippets from Science

4

Saint of the Month

6

MCYM Food Drive

8


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New Year’s Message - His Excellency Most Rev Dr. Thomas Mar Eusebius This is the season of gifts. During this season, we exchange a lot of gifts joyfully, we give them, we receive them. The greatest gift ever exchanged in human history is Christmas itself, God gifting His only Son to humanity. It is this Gift that we celebrate on the Christmas day. The second important gift during this season is the New Year. God in His abundant mercy and love provides us another year to love Him and to serve His children. As we know, life in its totality is a gratuitous gift from God. We do not deserve it, we have no claim over it. Everything in life is God’s free gift. Human life is constituted by the totality of the time that is at our disposal. It is by giving us time that God sustains our life on earth. Therefore, time is the greatest gift that God gives us in life. At the threshold of every New Year, we are reminded of this precious gift of God. God gives us yet another year freely; God give us time. What should be our Christian response to this precious gift? There is an interesting parable about a barren fig tree in the Gospel according to St. Luke. The fig tree has been nurtured for the past three years. But it never yielded any fruit. Finally the owner of the garden almost decides to cut it down. Why should the precious soil be wasted for this barren tree? But at the behest of the gardener, the owner has a second thought, to spare the fig tree one more year, to bear the fruit it ought to bear (Lk. 13: 6-9). The fig tree is given an additional year freely by the owner of the garden, so that the tree should bear fruit. In fact every New Year has to be seen from the background of this Gospel passage. Just as the fig tree did not deserve another year of existence, rather it was the free gift of the owner of the garden, the New Year is gifted to us by God so that we may bear fruit through our life. In this sense, the New Year is a great responsibility on our part, it is an opportunity given by God in order to bear fruit. It is an invitation to take life seriously, to make the best use of all the opportunities that our life provides us. As we step in to every New Year we must be overwhelmed by a deep sense of gratitude and indebtedness to God for the free gift of our time and of our life which is the totality of the time that is at our disposal. For our life, for all its varied experiences, for the time that is the basis for these experiences, we owe immensely to God and to all the realities around us which God permits to be part of our life. This genuine sense of indebtedness for the free gift of life must prompt us to take our life seriously. Taking life seriously ultimately amounts to taking time seriously. Our life is fulfilled only through the responsible use of the time that is at our disposal. Every moment is precious. Therefore it would be s a sin to waste time – a sin against God who gives us freely our life and its time. Our life becomes meaningful only when we are able to enrich our surrounding and this universe through the proper use of our time. The goal of our life is to create as much goodness as possible in this world. That is why the Lord of life has given us freely this life and the time. Therefore as we welcome the New Year, let us resolve ourselves to make the best use of the time that the New Year provides us, not to waste even a single minute of our precious life. I wish all of you a very fruitful, grace-filled New Year. © St. Mary’s Malankara Catholic Church, Toronto


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Was ‘Jesus‘ born in a Shopping Mall? It’s that time of the year again when we would wish each other “Happy New Year”; our hearts filled with genuine and sincere joy for our brothers and sisters. Another Christmas has passed by. The Christmas tree looked beautiful, adorned with all the glitter but now the decorations need to be packed away. We now have the chance to pause and ask ourselves, what was so joyous about the season? Was it the glitter and pompous adornments on the wall? Or was it the bright reds and greens of the season? Did the snowflakes give me more joy? Or the new winter jacket that I got on sale? The carols are no longer heard on music channels. The shopping malls have lost the buzz. All the gifts have been unwrapped, and Santa has done his good deeds for

the year. Let’s ask ourselves if we had a true a Christmas season or was it just another holiday? With the shopping malls getting so busy at this time of the year, and Christ being the reason for the season, I just can’t help to think “Was Jesus Christ born in a shopping Mall?” The gospel gives a joyous proclamation to all who have been waiting for centuries. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a saviour has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord” (Luke 2: 10) The gospel says that it is a good news of great joy it is for all people and the saviour is born for

each one of us, and that saviour is the Messiah & Lord. It is easy to understand why it should be a good news of great joy, as a baby being born is always a great joy to his/her parents and family. But why is it good news of great joy to ALL people? How can this baby, be a saviour and what is HE saving us from? Isaiah prophesied the answer to this query almost 700 years before: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, To heal the broken-hearted. To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners To announce an year of favour from the Lord, and a day of vindication by our God Continued on Page 7...

Holy Father’s Intentions for the Month GENERAL INTENTION: Victims of Natural Disasters.  That the victims of natural disasters may receive the spiritual and material comfort they need to rebuild their lives. MISSION INTENTION: Dedication to Peace.  That the dedication of Christians to peace may bear witness to the name of Christ before all men and women of good will.

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Snippets from Science – Glimpses of God’s Beautiful Mind JOURNEY TO THE EDGE OF FOREVER He telleth the number of stars; He calleth them all by their names. Psalms 147:4 It is He who made the Earth by His power, who established the World by His wisdom and by His understanding stretched out the Heavens. Jeremiah 10:12 I look above at the starry heavens with wonder and awe, my eyes gleaming in the cool starlight; and I dreamt I was aboard that tiny space probe that could… Pale Blue Dot On 14 February 1990, the space probe Voyager-1 had reached a distance of some 6 billion kilometers from the Earth, scurrying away from us on its epic journey past the planets and into interstellar space. The spacecraft had just enough fuel left to carry out one last special feat, and on that day the mission controllers gave that instruction. The legendary astronomer Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996) had persuaded NASA to turn Voyager-1 around, to face back towards its mother planet one last time. Travelling at the speed of light, the signal took 6 hours to reach the spacecraft, but when it did Voyager-1 responded obediently. As it turned, it laid open its camera – the camera that over a 13 year mission had captured some of the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring images of worlds we never knew could be so strange. Voyager-1 took a last photograph of every planet it could see and over the next three months transmitted them back to Earth. The result includes one of the most powerful, iconic images of all time: the planet Earth, very tiny and almost indistinguishable from the thousands of points of light behind it, appears as a tiny pale blue dot, less than a single pixel wide! It is a humbling and deeply inspiring picture – all humanity, our achievements, all our combined hopes and dreams captured in this pinpoint of © St. Mary’s Malankara Catholic Church, Toronto

light. This was the first time mother Earth had smiled at a camera 6 billion kilometers away and until then no one really knew how it looked from so far out. Thanks to Voyager-1, now we know! From Here to Eternity On 17 February 1998, Voyager-1 became the farthest man made object from Earth, passing another probe Pioneer-10. Today it continues to travel and is about 17.9 billion kilometres away from home, hurtling away at a breakneck speed of 61200 km/h, faster than a speeding bullet. Launched in 1977, it is pushing at the outer fringes of our solar system now and ready to break into interstellar space, destined to wander eternally among the stars. However, this remarkable probe has only begun its journey into what is the immensity of space. We can only vaguely surmise all the wondrous sights that await Voyager-1 in its far future, but its power source would have long died out making it impossible for it to establish contact with its mother planet again. At its current velocity, almost an eternity would pass before it breaks out of our galaxy, the Milky Way. Galaxies have been called island universes and for a good reason. Our solar system is located on one lonely corner of one of the spiral arms of our galaxy and our view is edge-on, the reason why the Milky Way appears like a band of light in the sky. This band of light is actually an aggregation of over 100 billion stars. The diameter of our galaxy spans so vast a distance that if you were travelling at the speed of light, it would still take you 100,000 years to cross it. That’s 965 quadrillion kilometers, with an average distance of 58 trillion kilometers between its stars! Measuring distances so vast in kilometers is cumbersome, the reason why astronomers use other units like light years and AU. Its only now with advances in technology that we have begun to realize just how enormous and mindbogglingly huge our galaxy is. And yet, Continued on page 5..


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Snippets from Science – Glimpses of God’s Beautiful Mind our galaxy is just the beginning of what is out there! Our next-door galactic neighbor is the Andromeda galaxy, a behemoth even bigger than our Milky Way. So many galaxies have now been discovered that they are said to be as common as blades of grass on a golf course. About 10 billion galaxies are present in the observable universe each with hundreds of billions of stars! Yet, there is more. These awesome galaxies are not scattered haphazardly in space. Instead, there are arranged in definite groups called clusters, like grapes in a bunch tied together by their mutual gravitational attraction. Thousands of these galactic clusters have been observed. The Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy are part of a cluster of about twenty galaxies. The distance between galaxies within a cluster average about a million light years and the distance of one galactic cluster to another may be a hundred times that. At this point, all I can say is that my jaw has dropped to the floor and only one word comes to my mind. One word. Wow! How about ‘Alive’? No, the sub-headline’s not about The Joker’s (Heath Ledger) immortal question in the 2008 Batman movie The Dark Knight. It’s about something far more primal and fundamental. How did the Universe come up with the recipe for Life? How did inanimate molecules of matter burst into Life? How did lifeless atoms come alive? We’ve seen that different levels of organization exist within the Universe even with its sheer size and complexity. The clockwork precision with which the various elements of the Universe work makes even the staunchest atheist wonder if some entity actually designed and then kickstarted the Universe with a Big Bang. Just as the smallness of subatomic particles stupefies us, the colossal size of the Universe leaves us stumped, speechless and completely jawdropped. Who could have made all this? What is its purpose? The first question is easy. Only God © St. Mary’s Malankara Catholic Church, Toronto

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who can visualize matter at the ‘Nano’ scale is omniscient enough to create and visualize a Universe that is on the other end of the size spectrum. There’s so much perfection and precision within the wheels and cogs turning the Universe and the physical laws governing it that it is mathematically impossible that the Universe could have risen by itself. The second question is a philosophical one. The ultimate purpose of the Universe could be to offer the right circumstances for life to originate and proliferate. If humans and Life exist only on planet Earth, the rest of the Universe seems incredibly superfluous. On the other hand, God has the power to create Life and even other human races on myriad planets in galaxies peppered throughout the Universe. The Universe is God’s canvas and he could paint all across it. Although we might never be able to find other human races, if they exist, thanks to the mind-bending distances involved, we can also never be sure that such races do not exist. Either way, Science might never be able to find an answer. So it all comes down to this: Is there life elsewhere? I don’t know, but would like to quote a great line by the character of Jodie Foster’s father in the 1997 movie Contact. On being asked the same question he replies, “I don’t know, but I guess I’d say if it is just us… seems like an awful waste of space!” On a more positive note, Voyager-1 might have an answer a thousand billion years from now, but only if we are still here and able to track it down! Roger that. Over and Out. Next Month: Mysteries from the Bible. Stay Tuned! ~ Amit M.


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The Life of a Saint - St. Catherine of Alexandria Every day Catholics honour various saints in the Church. There are practically enough saints for all 365 days in the year! On November 25th, St. Catherine of Alexandria is particularly remembered as a great martyr in the Catholic Church. She was born to a pagan governor of Alexandria, Egypt in 282 A.D. Catherine was a beautiful young girl, who was very interested in learning about philosophy and religion. When Catherine was young, she began to read about Christianity and ever since that time, she felt a special presence and interest towards Christ. She converted to Christianity in her late teens after she received a vision from Christ about Emperor Maxentius persecuting Christians. When Catherine was 18, Maxentius began to persecute Christians in Alexandria, just as she had seen in her vision. Fearlessly, she went to tell him what she thought of his cruelty. When he spoke of the pagan gods, she very plainly showed him that they were false. Maxentius could not answer her arguments. Therefore, he sent for 50 of his best pagan philosophers. Once again, it was Catherine who proved the truth of her religion. All 50 philosophers were con-

vinced that she was right. In great fury, Maxentius had every one of them killed. Next, he tried to win her by offering her a queen's crown. When Catherine refused it, he had

her beaten and thrown into prison. When Maxentius was away at camp, his wife and his main officer were interested to hear Catherine speak about this amazing God, so they went to visit her cell. Eventually they and 200 other soldiers were converted to the Christian faith. Upon Maxentius’ return, he was so furious at what Catherine had done, that he

© St. Mary’s Malankara Catholic Church, Toronto

put all 200 soldiers, his wife, and his main officer to death. In punishment, Catherine was forced to stand on the bearing wheel, a torturous wheel full of large spikes that caused much bleeding and pain to a person. However, as soon as Catherine touched the wheel, the entire thing collapsed to the ground, saving her from a horrible death. Unfortunately, due to Maxentius’ persistent disbelief in Christ, Catherine was beheaded in 305 A.D. In the 6th century, Emperor Justinian established Saint Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai, between 548 and 565 A.D. in Saint Catherine, Egypt. To this day, Saint Catherine's Monastery survives as a famous place of early Christian art, architecture and illuminated manuscripts, that is still open to visiting scholars. St. Catherine died as a martyr, by offering her life to Christ. She is the patron saint of philosophers and young adults. St. Catherine of Alexandria is a great role model for all youth, showing them that one must be fearless and bear witness to Christ at any and every opportunity. ~ Divya M.


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Was ‘Jesus‘ born in a Shopping Mall? To comfort all who mourn” (Isaiah Ch 61: Vr 1-3) Almost thirty years after the birth of Jesus when he started his public ministry, we see Jesus being handed over the scrolls to read, and this was exactly the passage that he read from the Old Testament. The gospel of St. Luke 4: 20 says “Rolling up the scroll he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing” Thus Jesus confirmed that it was about HIM that Isaiah prophesied 700 years ago. Prophet Isaiah has listed the reasons to be joyful for: To those who are broken hearted, the one who heals is born, to the one who is held a captive or prisoner to sin, a saviour is born who releases them from this captivity, to all those who mourn a comforter has been born. In our meditative prayer, as we journey with Jesus, where do we find ourselves? Are we companions who accept him, or do we reject him? Do we proclaim him or do we renounce him? When Christmas turns into just fun and merry making

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aren’t we just like King Herod and his friends who heard of the Magi travelling to adore baby Jesus but did not go to adore themselves, but rather they indulged in their merry making. As we rush to the shopping malls, let us ask ourselves, if the birth of Jesus is the reason for the joy of the season, then, why are we searching for him in shopping malls, and fancy dinners? The Magi travelled far from the East, suffering hardships and yet they presented the best to baby Jesus. (Mathew 2: 11). Likewise, to enjoy the birth of Jesus and to experience the deliverance as prophesied by Isaiah, we too have to keep the night watch (prayerful observance of the Advent), we too, have to travel far from our comforts, our conveniences, our abominable habits, and present baby Jesus with the best we have. When Jesus listed the Beatitudes he said “Blessed are the pure of heart for they will see God” (Mathew 5:8) It is noteworthy here that the angel appeared and proclaimed the good

© St. Mary’s Malankara Catholic Church, Toronto

news to the shepherds who kept a night watch over their flock. (Luke 2: 8) At the beginning of another year, let us fall in love not with the glitter and show, but rather let’s fall in love with JESUS. Let our Blessed Mother and holy saints intercede for our intentions. Let us pray that all may have a blessed 2012 filled with divine graces. ~ Rajesh J.


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MCYM Food Drive 2011 During the Christmas season, we gather with our family friends to share our love for one another, and thank God for our many blessings; however, it is also a time when we remember those who do not have as much as we do and unfortunately, sometimes no one. This year, MCYM took the initiative, with the support of

the parish, to hold another Christmas Food Drive to donate non-perishable food items to those in need. Over the course of December, our parish collected over 100 items, contributing canned goods, pastas, and much more to make this Christmas a more joyful one for families and individuals who need our support. As Christian’s it is our responsibility to answer God’s call to be instruments of His peace and to offer hope to those who pray prayers of rescue. We often take many of our blessings for granted, but for those in need, being able to have a Christmas meal could be that Christmas miracle that they were praying for. During such times, a very relevant passage comes to mind: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry

and you gave me something to eat…” (Matthew 25: 34 -35). It is true what they say that “Tis’ the season to be jolly”; however, even more importantly “tis’ the season to make others jolly”, for it is in giving that we receive and it in loving that we are loved. ~ Neil T

Liturgical Cycle Ariyippu Kalam Nov 1 – Dec 20 Deneha Kaalam (Elda Kalam) Dec 21- Feb 21 Valiya Nombu Kalam Feb 22 – Apr 11 Kyamtha Kalam Apr 12 – May 30 PentiKosthi Kalam May 31 – Aug 5 Tejaskarana Kalam Aug 6 – Sept 13 Sleeba Kalam Sept 14 – Oct 31

Altar Servers Schedule - January

Coffee Sponsors

Date

Candle 1

Candle 2

Marbahasa 1

Marbahasa 2

Bell

Readings

Thurible

Jan 1

N/A

Dec 31

Samson

Christopher

Neil

Reuben

Deepak

Br. Jobin

Lynn

Jan 8

Simon & Lali

Jan 8

Neil

Samson

Christopher

Deepak

Br. Jobin

Lynn

Leo

Jan 15

Simon & Lali

Jan 15

Christopher

Samson

Deepak

Leo

Neil

Lynn

Br. Jobin

Jan 22

Babu & Valsa

Jan 22

Samson

Christopher

Deepak

Neil

Lynn

Br. Jobin

Leo

Jan 29

TBD

Jan 29

Neil

Reuben

Samson

Deepak

Christopher

Lynn

Br. Jobin

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Parish Night 2011 Every year, our Toronto Malayalee Community hosts programs for Christmas, which we call ‘Parish Night’. On Friday, December 30th, 2011, we had our Parish Night at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School. The evening began with some fun and entertaining games conducted by the youth, some of which included Merry Fishmas, Candle and Match game, and Coin in the Bowl. After the games, dinner was served at 7:00 pm. The food was a perfect representation of our real Malayalee culture, with rice and different dishes that you w o u l d only find in Kerala. Following dinner, we began the programs at 8:00 pm with introductions from our MC’s Christine Jaison and Deepak Wilson. Our c h i e f guest for the night was Fr. Andrew Macbeth, and we were blessed to have him in our presence. There were a variety of programs from songs and dances to skits and tableaus. It was a wonderful opportunity for our Sunday school children, youth, and adults to display their God given talents and give glory to the Lord. We would like to thank the families who opened up their homes to us to learn and © St. Mary’s Malankara Catholic Church, Toronto

practice the programs we performed, our Catechism teachers who taught us these programs and dedicated their time to make this night a success. We would also like to send a sincere thanks to Fr. Daiju for his prayers and support. Finally, we must thank our Lord Jesus Christ for showering his abundant blessings and graces on us. Happy New Year to you all! ~ Divya M.


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FEAST DAY JANUARY 8TH HIS EXCELLENCY RT. REV. DR. PHILIPOSE MAR STEPHANOS Auxiliary Bishop of Tiruvalla

FEAST DAY JANUARY 1ST HIS BEATITUDE MORAN MOR BASELIOS CLEEMIS Major Archbishop of Syro Malankara Church

FEAST DAY JANUARY 17TH HIS EXCELLENCY RT. REV. DR. THOMAS MAR ANTHONIOS Curial Bishop of Syro Malankara Church

FEAST WISHES FEAST DAY JANUARY 22ND HIS EXCELLENCY RT. REV. DR. GEEVARGHESE MAR TIMOTHIOS Bishop Emeritus of Tiruvalla

FEAST DAY JANUARY 29TH HIS EXCELLENCY RT. REV. DR. JOSHUA MAR IGNATHIOS Bishop of Mavelikkara

COMMEMORATION JANUARY 18TH HIS GRACE MOST REV. CYRIL MAR BASELIOS The Third Metropolitan Archbishop and the First Major Archbishop-Catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church

COMMEMORATION JANUARY 18TH HIS EXCELLENCY MOST REV. JOSEPH MAR SEVERIOS The Second Metropolitian of Tiruvalla

Liturgy of the Month Week

Gospel Readings

Epistles

Old Testament Readings

Jan 1

Luke 2: 21-24 Jesus Presented in the Temple

1 Pet 5: 5-11 Eph 4: 17-24

Gen 21: 8-14 Judge 13: 24-44 Zech 8: 3-12

Jan 8

John 1: 43-51 Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

1 Peter 3: 8-17 Phil 1: 12-20

Ex 3: 1-15 Wis 7: 1-12 Isaiah 1: 43-51

Jan 15

Luke 4: 16-22 Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

1 Pet 1: 13-25 Rom 3: 1-8

Josh 4: 1-14 Prov 10: 1-12 Isa 61: 1-4

Jan 22

John 3: 1-15 Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Acts 9: 1-9 1 Cor 3: 18-23

Josh 7: 10-15 Prov 3: 1-12 Jer 30: 1-11

Jan 29

Mark 12: 28-34 Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar

1 Pet 2: 11-17 1 Cor 4: 6-14

Deut 18: 9-22 1 Sam 16: 1-13 Isaiah 43: 14-28

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January 2012