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Vatican tells Catholics not to scatter ashes of the dead

The Vatican on Tuesday urged Catholics not to scatter the ashes of the dead after cremation and instead to store them in places approved by the Church. The new guidelines published by the Church also say that the ashes of the dead should not be kept at home but should instead be kept at a cemetery or other sacred place. Doing so reduces "the risk of shielding the dead from prayers for them and the memory of their family and the Christian community", German cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, the prefect of the doctrinal watchdog, told journalists. "We also avoid eventually forgetting (them) and the lack of respect which can happen, especially after the passing of the first generation," he said. "Conserving ashes in a home is not authorised," Mueller said. The Vatican first gave permission …

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First response

READ: James 5:13-16 Be anxious for nothing, but…let your request be made known to God. Philippians 4:6-7 When my husband, Tom, was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, I began to call family members. My sister and her husband came right away to be with me, and we prayed as we waited. Tom’s sister listened to my anxious voice on the phone and immediately said, “Cindy, can I pray with you?” When my pastor and his wife arrived, he too prayed for us (James 5:13-16). Oswald Chambers wrote: “We tend to used prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line defense. We pray when there’s nothing else can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.” At its root, prayer is simply …

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Cure of a crippled woman on the Sabbath

LUKE 13:10-17 Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, He called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid His hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the Sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the Sabbath day.” The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or …

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Tiny island

READ: Titus 3:1-7 Speak evil of no one... be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. v. 2 SINGAPORE is a tiny island. It’s so small that one can hardly spot it on the world map. (Try it, if you don’t already know where Singapore is.) Because it is densely populated, consideration of others is especially important. A man wrote to his fiancée who was coming to Singapore for the first time: “Space is limited. Therefore… you must always have that sense of space around you. You should always step aside to ensure you are not blocking anyone. The key is to be considerate.” The apostle Paul wrote to Titus, a young pastor: “Remind the people… to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be …

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Filipino liturgical artist gives Pope Francis another framed artwork

A Filipino liturgical artist personally handed Pope Francis a framed artwork, the third piece given to the head of the Roman Catholic Church, during a visit at the Vatican this week. Brother Jaazeal “Tagoy” Dineros Jakosalem, of the Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR), gave the Holy Father the art piece "Embracing Mercy” at the Sala Clementina, Vatican City, Rome after a special papal audience granted to the Augustinian Recollects, who participated in the 55th General Chapter on Oct. 20. "Beautiful, I like it. Please pray for me, young man,” said the artist, quoting the Pontiff upon receiving the artwork, in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website. The canvass shows Pope Francis embracing the Christ-child, fashioned after the likeness of Alan Kurdi, the 3-year old Syrian …

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Clean the closet

Psalm 139:13-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart. v.23   To this day I can still hear my mother telling me to go and clean up my room. Dutifully, I would go to my room to start the process, only to get distracted by reading the comic book that I was supposed to put neatly in the stack. But soon the distraction was interrupted by my mother warning that she would be up in 5 minutes to inspect the room. Unable to effectively clean the room in that time, I would proceed to hide everything I didn’t know what to do with in the closet, make the bed, and then wait for her to come in-hoping that she wouldn’t look in the closet. This reminds me of what many of us do …

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The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector

Luke 18:9-14   Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone …

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Undeserved praise

READ: LUKE 5:27-32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. v. 32 EVEN before I could afford a self-cleaning oven, I managed to keep my oven clean. Guests even commented on it when we had them over for a meal. “Wow, your oven is so clean. it looks like new.” I accepted the praise even though I knew I didn’t deserve it. The reason my oven was clean had nothing to do with my meticulous scrubbing; it was clean because I so seldom used it. How often, I wonder, am I guilty of accepting undeserved admiration for my “clean” life? It’s easy to give the impression of being virtuous; simply do nothing difficult, controversial, or upsetting to people. But Jesus said we are to love people who don’t …

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Signs of the times

Luke 12:54-59 Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain — and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot — and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time? “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, …

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Jesus: A cause of division

LUKE 12:49-53   Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”   REFLECTION I have come to set the earth on fire. The whole unit of the text …

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