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Lent 2nd Week, Monday, Mar 9th

Daniel 9:4-10 / Luke 6:36-38

Jesus teaches his disciples: “Stop judging and you will not be judged.”

A young businessman began dating a charming young actress. The relationship developed to the point that the businessman was pondering marriage. So, he hired a detective agency to investigate the actress. He wanted to make absolutely sure that there was nothing in her past that would embarrass him. The agency assigned to the case an agent who was told nothing of the client’s identity. When the agent filed his report, it read: “The lady is a tremendous young woman, except for one blemish. Recently she has been keeping company with a businessman of questionable reputation.”
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Do we tend to consider ourselves to be better than most other people, when, in fact, the opposite may be true? “Remove the wooden beam from your eye first.” Matthew 7:5
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During this season of Lent, the importance of the spiritual discipline of prayer is emphasised over and over again. It may mean that we make more time for prayer so that prayer becomes our priority not just during the season of Lent but also thereafter. But it also means that as we pray and enter deeper into a communion with God in prayer, we also want to understand more about God and what He has done for us.

In the 1st reading, Daniel began his prayer by acknowledging who God is in these words: O Lord, God great and to be feared, you keep the covenant and have kindness for those who love you and keep your commandments .

Daniel acknowledged the greatness and faithfulness of God because that was what God had done for him. God blessed Daniel with status and authority even though he was in exile in Babylon. God gave Daniel the gift of prophecy. He saved Daniel in the lions' den and rescued him from his enemies' plots. Time and again, God showed Daniel His greatness and also His faithfulness.

That was Daniel's experience of God and as he prayed, he remembered and praised God for His greatness and faithfulness to him. Similarly, when we pray and as we begin our prayer, let us remember how Jesus described who God the Father is. God is compassionate, He does not condemn and He grants pardon. He gives His love to us in a full measure and running over.

So as we offer God our time in prayer, let us remember the great things that He has done for us and how faithful He is to us. When we remember to praise and thank God, then we will indeed be given a full measure of His grace and blessings, so that we too can share with others what God has given us.
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Monday of 2nd Week of Lent - Liturgy

THE SINNER SEEKS FORGIVENESS 

Introduction 
Acknowledging sin, being sorry for it and seeking forgiveness is a reality that can only exist where there is genuine friendship and the awareness that this friendship has been hurt or even destroyed. Without friendship with God and with people, sin remains only a thing to be wiped off, sorrow is little more than a superficial regretting of something that should not have happened, and forgiveness is erasing the past. Sin, sorrow, pardon are to be seen in the light of the covenant relationship with a merciful God, who loved us first, and with our neighbor, with whom we are taken up in this union of life and love with God. 

Penitential Rite:
-We have sinned, been wicked and done evil; we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws, LHM
-We have not obeyed your servants the prophets and our leaders, CHM
-But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness, LHM

Opening Prayer 
Just and holy God, our loving Father, you offered us your hand in friendship and you sent us your Son Jesus to go with us the road of obedience and loyalty. God, we often hurt this friendship, we act as if we were not your sons and daughters. See the look of shame on our faces. Forgive us, for we count on you. Accept our thanks for continuing to take us as we are and loving us notwithstanding our sins. We ask you this through Christ our Lord.

Commentary 
Despite Israel’s sinfulness and waywardness, Daniel prays today for God’s forgiveness. He cannot make any claims on the basis of the conduct of his countrymen but relies wholly on God’s compassion. Compassion is a very distinct form of charity. The English word is derived from two Latin words meaning “to suffer with.” When mistakes are made in life that deeply affect a person, it is not reproof that is sought. It is an understanding heart. When we say that a person is non-judgmental, it does not mean that the person is indifferent to wrongdoing. It simply means that judgment is left to the Lord and the person is willing to stand with the wrongdoer through trying and difficult times. When St. Francis expresses concern, that thieves seeking food have been turned away by his friars, it is not because he approves of the thieves’ criminal behavior. But he is concerned about their hunger, and he sends one of the friars to find them and provide them with food. When someone dear to us decides to pursue a course of action that we know is wrong, we are not asked to alter our convictions. But by the same token that person should not be separated from our love. The Gospel today enjoins us to avoid judgment and condemnation and be willing to extend pardon just as we ask God to pardon us. If we measure our forgiveness in large portions, pardon will be extended to us by a generous God in equally large measure. Be prepared. Charity will probably carry us in directions never imagined. Harshness brings no comfort. Condemnation is best left to the courts. The understanding person says simply, “I stand with you and am willing to suffer.” If we do not forget others, we will not be forgotten ourselves. 

Points to Ponder 
Examples of compassion
Being non-judgmental
The heavy burden if guilt 

Intercessions 
– That each of us may have the courage to say, “Sorry, I am wrong, forgive me,” not only to God when we have sinned but also to people we have hurt, we pray:
– That we may never gloss over any evil but voice our disapproval without condemning the wrongdoer, we pray:
– That we may not pay back evil with evil but listen to the Spirit who wants us to pay back evil with good, we pray: 

Prayer over the Gifts 
Lord our God, in this Eucharist your Son Jesus comes among us to bring us your pardon and peace. Remind us of what he went through for us, that we may be converted to you and be your holy people, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Prayer after Communion 
Lord our God, your forgiving love is without measure. May our hearts become as large as yours, that we too may learn to forgive one another, and stop from judging and condemning. May we too take people as they are and continue offering our friendship even when it is abused, by the strength of him who has given himself to us in this Eucharist, Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Blessing
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Words to remember and to practice, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the holy Spirit.