-Lord Jesus, you tell us to go and sin no more:
• For the Church we love, that it may be in our world a place and a sign of forgiveness and reconciliation, let us pray: R/ Lord of life, in you we trust.
• For broken homes and for families that are united, let us pray : R/ Lord of life, in you we trust.
• For those wounded by the hardships of life and for those who keep hoping, let us pray: R/ Lord of life, in you we trust.
• For those in authority, that they pay attention to the people's needs and not crush anyone with their power, let us pray: R/ Lord of life, in you we trust.
• For our Christian communities, that we keep accepting everyone with understanding and compassion, let us pray: R/ Lord of life, in you we trust.
“Those who live in constant terror of their own sins are powerless to accomplish anything in the world.” …Berdyaev
Lord, there was a time when the feeling of guilt had us paralyzed.
We felt condemned by voices within us:
• sermons we had heard in our childhood threatening us with hell fire;
• teachers who told us we had to be perfect.
We felt as if we were standing in full view of our accusers
and they were condemning us as deserving of death.
We thank you, Lord, that you sent us, at that moment,
a wise and kind person, who stayed with us, saying nothing,
just being there like Jesus bent down and writing on the ground,
until, very gradually, as the weeks went by,
the harsh accusing voices were silenced, one by one,
beginning from the most deeply rooted,
and eventually we were standing there knowing you were looking at us,
and telling us that we were now free to go out and lead a good and creative life.
“All condemnation is of the devil. We condemn others
only because we shun condemning ourselves.” …St Seraphim of Sarov
Lord, we who are community leaders in the Church or the country
often have to point out people’s faults.
Help us to do so without condemning them.
But that is not easy; we have to listen to our innermost selves,
waiting patiently until every scribe and Pharisee within us has walked away
because only then do we have the right to look at another and say, “Go, and sin no more.”
Lord, just as in the time of Jesus, society pronounces its harshest judgments
on those who are caught committing sexual sins, especially if they are women.
Authorities will always single them out and make them stand in full view of everybody,
insisting that in the name of religion they must condemn such persons to death by stoning.
We pray, Lord, that your Church will be like Jesus,
pointing out the hypocrisy of the accusers,
and protecting the dignity of those who have sinned.
“One form of gentleness we should practice is towards ourselves. It is reasonable to be displeased and sorry when we commit faults, but not fretful or spiteful to ourselves.“ …St Francis de Sales
Lord, teach us to look at ourselves with respect and compassion,
as Jesus looked at the woman taken in adultery
when he was left alone with her and she remained standing before him.
Lord, send us leaders like Jesus,
who will stand with the weak and the vulnerable against their oppressors,
not aggressively, but calmly, so that the oppressors walk away of their own accord,
and the weak find the space to create a good life for themselves.
Lord, we remember a time when we were using a Bible passage to condemn someone,
and quite suddenly the passage came alive for us,
and we saw that we were condemning the other for what we were guilty of ourselves,
so that we let the stone fall from our hands and went our way.