Lord, Hear Our Prayer

Even words can kill. Dangerous weapons, those lips. We will be held accountable for the things we say, particularly the things we say about each other. 



“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you,
whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment;
and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin;
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’
will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

Matthew 5:21-26


Pope Francis’ Sunday Angelus message emphasized the importance of avoiding all forms of slander in living a Christian life.

“It’s so rotten, gossip. At the beginning, it seems to be something enjoyable and fun, like a piece of candy.  But at the end, it fills the heart with bitterness and also poisons us,” Pope Francis said Feb. 16.

“I tell you the truth,” he preached to the crowds filling St. Peter’s Square. “I am convinced that if each one of us would purposely avoid gossip, at the end, we would become a saint! It’s a beautiful path!”

“Do we want to become saints? Yes or no?” he queried as the crowds replied, “yes!”

“Yes? Do we want to live attached to gossip as a habit?” Pope Francis continued, “Yes or no? No? Ok, so we are in agreement! No gossip!”

The Gospel reading at Sunday’s Mass contained the story of Jesus explaining to the disciples that he had come “not to abolish, but to fulfill the law” of the old covenant.

Jesus offers the example of the fifth commandment, “do not kill,” and goes on to add, “but I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be guilty before the court.”

“With this, Jesus reminds us that even words can kill!” explained the Pope. “When it is said that someone has the ‘tongue of a serpent,’ what does it mean? That his words kill.”

“Therefore, not only must one not make an attempt on the life of others, but one must not even pour on him the poison of anger and hit him with slander, nor speak ill of him. And here we arrive at gossip. Gossip can also kill, because it kills the reputation of the person,” stressed the Pontiff.

Jesus proposes another way to his followers, “the perfection of love: a love in which the only measure is not to measure, but to go beyond all calculating.”

This Christian path of loving one’s neighbor is “so fundamental that Jesus comes to say that our relationship with God can not be honest if we do not want to make peace with our neighbor.”




Dear Lord, For all the times I've gossiped or slandered, I am truly sorry. Please forgive me. And give me the grace and the courage to reconcile with the people my words have hurt.


Is the someone to whom you need to be reconciled because of the sins committed by your tongue? Go! Today.


How can I pray for you this week?


  1. Erin says

    We just learned that we are expecting our fourth child, very unexpectedly! My husband has had significant mental health issues in the past, and he is finally doing really well. We had actually been discussing trying for a fourth, and he was open to the idea for the first time. While the timing is a little sooner than we had hoped, he actually seems very happy with the situation. This is a major thing, since he was violently opposed to having any more children just a year ago. Please pray for us that my husband’s positive attitude continues, that his mental health continues to be stable, and that the baby is healthy. Thank you.

  2. Patricia says

    Erin: Praying for the intercession of St. Dymphna (patroness of those with mental health issues) for your husband & for good health for you & your precious little one!
    Lucy: Praying for God’s consolation & peace after your loss! Asking the intercession of St. Gerard Majella (patron of expectant mothers) for you!
    Asking prayers for Matthew, a 4 1/2 year old boy who is dying from a weak heart. Please pray for his parents & family. May Our Lord, the Theotokos & Matthew’s Guardian Angel be ever-close to him at this time!

  3. Melissa says

    Concurring in this call for prayers encouraging individuals to heed the words of our Pope and not use words as weapons. I teach in the Catholic Bible School in my diocese and when my class responds to “opinion” questions in their homework it makes my heart and head hurt to read how judgmental and condemning they…what so ever you do to the least of God’s people is not really getting through to so many Catholics and other Christians today. And the folks in my class are supposed to be the faithful ones; the church volunteers; the Bible study and small church community leaders in their parishes. Oppression, hate, and hurtful words make me sadder than anything.

  4. Kim says

    For my dad, who is starting his 2nd round of cancer treatment tomorrow. Also for my husband’s job situation, he works for a very difficult boss. Recently had his hours cut and we’re hoping and praying for a better job opportunity.
    Keeping the above intentions in prayer throughout my day.

  5. Seeker says

    This is definitely an important teaching. The challenge for me is actually determining what is and what is not gossip. Is having a discussion about one friend or relative and the troubles you are having with them with another relative or friend considered gossip? My adult daughters and I give each other mutual support in dealing with “difficult” family members and friends – is this gossip? Is telling your husband about something someone in your circle of friends or family did that is shocking gossip? Is it gossip to point out the sins of others (perhaps celebrities) to your children who are exposed to this stuff no matter what you do as a means of teaching them right from wrong? For example, people who are openly and flamboyantly flaunting the homosexual lifestyle – is it gossip to tell my 13 year old son that person is sinning and disappointing God with his behavior? I don’t want him thinking that’s OK. I wouldn’t want a child who is abused to think that telling his or her parents what is being done to him is gossip if he is taught “not to say anything bad about anyone else.” Does anyone else see where this could be confusing? I think some concrete examples of what is and is not gossip would be helpful.

  6. Patricia says

    Seeker: The difference lies in making a judgement call regarding someone’s behavior (there is nothing wrong with stating that a certain behavior violates one of God’s Commandments…in fact, it may be the most charitable thing to do…but it must be done in love…which can be tricky, for sure) versus making a judgement call on the state of someone’s soul (which only God can do).

  7. Patricia says

    Wise advice from St. John Chrysostom:
    Do not tell me, “I would be a slanderer only if I lied. I am committing no slander if I tell the truth.” This is a grievous error. Speaking evil of others, even if the evil be true, is always a crime…You want to correct your brother? Weep, pray to God, warn him by speaking to his heart, advise and exhort him. This is how St. Paul acted.

  8. says

    Yes, good post. Words…can really slander one’s reputation. We must be on guard as to how easy it is to harm by our careless comments. Please keep my husband in your prayers..Heath issues. Thank you

  9. says

    For me: my job has gotten sort of crazy impossible with my boss and his demands, so I’m looking at taking early retirement (it’s a long, digressive story). I like working, and I didn’t want to do this, but it might be my only choice because my health is suffering working here, and that’s not good at all since it’s already precarious.

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