Before the meeting, collect enough flower heads and green leaves for all participants. At the centre of the meeting place arrange a candle with some decoration – perhaps a purple ribbon or flower.
Leader: Jesus says “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.” [Light candle]
All: Lord Jesus, you tell us that where two or more are gathered in your name, you are in their midst. The light of this candle is a sign of your presence among us. We welcome you and pray: “Come Lord Jesus”
Three themes: REPENTANCE
Leader: During Lent, faithful Christians hear the call of Jesus: “Repent and believe the Good News!” On Ash Wednesday we began Lent with the sign of the Cross. The ashes remind us of our mortality and frailty. They remind us to keep battling against destructive forces within us. We are all children of Adam and like him, we fall. But “God loved the world so much He sent His only Son.” And He, Jesus “loved us and delivered Himself up for us.” All: Thanks be to God! Today we celebrate with joy the victory of Jesus over sin and disorder in our lives. We repent. We reject all pride, envy, anger, lust, greed, avarice, sloth. We repent of those occasions when we have not kept the New Commandment of love: love for one another and love for those in distress. We have sinned, Lord, we have sinned.
Pause for silent reflection. Question: Have we lost a healthy sense of ‘sin’?
All: I confess to Almighty God and to you, my sisters and brothers, that I have sinned, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do. Therefore I ask Blessed Mary ever Virgin, the angels and saints and you, my sisters and brothers, to pray for me to the Lord, our God. Leader: May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to life everlasting. All: Amen.
Leader: Let us listen to the exchange between Jesus and Peter which took place by the Sea of Galilee. Peter – a favourite of Jesus and appointed Head of the church – disowns Christ three times when questioned by a servant girl. Jesus then met him after His resurrection. Reader: Jesus reinstates Peter When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus said “Feed my lambs”. Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus said “Take care of my sheep”. The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him a third time ‘Do you love me?’ He said. “Lord you know all things. You know I love you.” Leader: As we reflect, let us hear Jesus addressing each of us by name. Substitute your name for ‘Peter’.
Pause for silent reflection. Questions: What do you admire most about the love of Jesus? Why does Jesus command us to love our enemies?
All say this prayer: Lord Jesus, we too have sinned against your love by our indifference and lukewarm response. We do not throw open the door of our hearts to you. We are afraid of what you might ask of us. Today we renew our devotion to you. We give you a pledge of our love. Make us a face of your love for all who come to us. Especially we renew our love for our spouses, in-laws, children, grandchildren, friends & parishioners. Pardon our indifference to those whose needs are known to us, for they are You in disguise, Lord Jesus.
Each place a flower around the Christ Candle as a token of your love for Christ and for those He commits to your care.
Leader: During this most sacred week we are determined to follow Jesus to Calvary. Let us accompany him on his last journey. In this way, we who ‘have died with Him will also live with him’. (Paul) We listen with reverence and love to St John’s description of Jesus’ suffering, recalling that ‘He loved me and delivered himself up for me’. (Paul) Reader: The soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull. Here they crucified him and with two others, one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read, … Near the Cross of Jesus stood his Mother, his Mother’s sister Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there and the disciple he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son” and to the disciple, “here is your mother”. Leader: In our reflection, let us silently praise God for his love for us: faithful, unconditional, sacrificial and unto death. Let us thank Jesus for Mary. Christ gives her to us as Mother. He is dispossessed, but ready for His Father.
Pause for silent reflection. Question: What does Mary teach about suffering in the life of a Christian?
All say this prayer: Lord Jesus, you became one of us, lowering yourself even further when you ‘bore our sins in your body on a tree’. Accept today our loving gratitude. You tell us : “Take up your cross each day and follow Me.” When we are burdened by suffering, teach us patience and acceptance.
Each person place a leaf near the Christ Candle as a symbol of your cross – present and future.
Time for prayer for your own needs and for others. Remember all who live in the Holy Land – they are currently experiencing their own ‘Way of the Cross’ All: Jesus Christ, light of the world we have honoured you today. May or Lenten response show itself in repentance, love, and the acceptance of our cross. Give us the courage of Mary so that with hope and joy, we await your Resurrection on Easter Day.