February 20, 2021

Lenten Penance Service

Lenten Penance Service- 2021 (L-21)

Opening song: 1) Amazing Grace (New Britain OCP); 2) Be Not Afraid (Bob Dufford GIA); 3) Come You Sinners, Poor and Needy (RS 954 Beach Spring); 4) Forgive Our Sins as We Forgive (RS 952 St. Anne; 5) Glory and Praise to Our God (Dan Schutte OCP); 6) He Healed the Darkness of My Mind (RS 951 Old 100t)h; 7) Jesus, Remember Me (Jacques Berthier GIA – Taizé); 8) Our Father We Have Wandered (RS 955 Passion Chorale); 9) The Master Came to Bring Good News (RS 956 Ich Glaub’ an Got)t; 10) There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy (In Babilone GIA/OCP); or any other song of your choice.

Introduction: The primary purpose of Lent is spiritual renewal of life in preparation for our celebration, as individuals and as Church, of Jesus’ death on Good Friday and Resurrection on Easter Sunday.  The Church tries to achieve this goal by leading her children to “repentance.” Repentance is a type of conversion – the reordering of our priorities and the changing of our values, ideals, and ambitions – through fasting, prayer, and mortification.  Lenten observances are also intended to lead us to our annual solemn renewal of Baptismal vows on Holy Saturday.  My brothers and sisters, we gather here in our Church this night because we are sinners, and we desire to approach a merciful God, Who is our loving Heavenly Father, to seek reconciliation with our forgiving God and with each other. Thus, this Penance Service is designed to celebrate the Lord’s invitation to us to participate in loving reconciliation. Jesus Christ not only offers to us his mercy; he expects us to live in a spirit of mercy and forgiveness. Let us pray for the courage to seek God’s forgiveness and the willingness to offer forgiveness to those who have hurt us.

Opening prayer: The Presider: Let us pray. Lord our God, we know that You are patient with sinners and accept our desire to make amends. We acknowledge our sins and we are resolved to change and renew our lives. Help us to celebrate this Sacrament of your Mercy and Reconciliation so that we may reform our lives and receive from you the gift of everlasting joy. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Celebration of the word of God: (The following are suggested readings. Other readings may be chosen).

First Reading: Joel 2: 12-18 (or Ezekiel 11:14-21).

Responsorial Psalm 51, 3-4, 5-6. 12-13. 14. 17. (Or Psalm 130, 25, 33, or 51) 

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

 Have mercy on me, God, in Your kindness.

In Your compassion blot out my offence.

O wash me more and more from my guilt,

and cleanse me from my sin.

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

My offences truly I know them;

my sin is always before me.

Against You, You alone, have I sinned;

what is evil in Your sight I have done.

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

A pure heart create for me, O God,

put a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from Your presence,

nor deprive me of Your Holy Spirit.

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Give me again the joy of Your help;

with a spirit of fervor sustain me.

O Lord, open my lips

and my mouth shall declare Your praise.

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned. 

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21: 17 So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 And all this is from God, Who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake, He made Him to be sin Who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. The word of the Lord. R: Thanks be to God

Gospel Acclamation: “Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ

Gospel: Luke 13:1-9: (or any other Gospel passage on repentance): Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way, they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So, cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not, you can cut it down.’”

Short reflection: Today’s Gospel explains how God disciplines His people, inviting them to repent of their sins and renew their lives so that they may produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  Citing two tragic events, Jesus exhorts the Jews to repent and reform their lives.  With the parable of the barren fig tree, Jesus also warns them that the merciful God will not put up with them indefinitely. Although God patiently waits for sinners to repent, giving them grace to do so, He will not wait forever.  Time may run out, and  therefore, timely repentance is necessary.  Hence, a Lent missed is a year lost from the spiritual life.

Life Messages: 1) We need to live lives of repentance, because (a) we never know when we will meet a tragedy of our own.  Let us turn to Christ, acknowledge our faults and failings, and receive from Him mercy, forgiveness, and the promise of eternal life.  There is no better way to take these words of Jesus to heart than to go to sacramental confession, and there is no better time to go to confession than during Lent.   (b) Repentance helps us in life and in death. It helps us to live as forgiven people and helps us to face death without fear.   2) We need to be fruitful trees in God’s orchard.  Lent is an ideal time “to dig around and manure” the tree of our life so that it may bring forth fruits of repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness, and sensitivity to the feelings of others.  3) We need to make the best use of the “second chance” God gives us.  Our merciful Father always gives us a second chance.  During Lent, we, too, are given another chance to repent and return to our Heavenly Father’s love.

Examination of conscience in the form of Intercessory prayers

(Let us examine our conscience and ask God’s pardon and forgiveness by responding “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”)

1) Lord Jesus, we ask Your pardon and forgiveness for not praying for the anointing and strengthening of your Holy Spirit every morning and not confessing our sins to You and asking Your forgiveness every night. We pray to the Lord.  “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

2) Lord Jesus, we ask Your pardon and forgiveness for swearing in Your Name, using curse words, and for not   listening to You by reading a portion of the Bible daily and not finding some time to talk to You in prayer, personally and in our families. We pray to the Lord.  “Lord, have mercy on me ,a sinner.”

3) Lord Jesus, we ask Your pardon and forgiveness for neglecting our duties in our family, not paying proper attention to the needs of our spouse and children, and not respecting God’s gift of life from conception to natural death. We pray to the Lord.  “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

4) Lord Jesus, we ask Your pardon and forgiveness for not regularly participating in the Sunday Mass, and for not recharging our spiritual batteries by attentively hearing the Word of God and devoutly receiving You in Holy Communion as the Food for our souls. We pray to the Lord. “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

5) Lord Jesus, we ask Your pardon and forgiveness for desecrating our bodies, the temples of the Holy Spirit, by overindulgence in food and drinks, by indulging in impure and unjust thoughts, words and actions, and by continuing to sin by our evil and impure habits and our addictions to alcohol, drugs, pornography or other sexual deviations. We pray to the Lord.  “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

6) Lord Jesus, we ask Your pardon and forgiveness for all other sins and failures in our life, especially for being gossipy, critical, and judgmental about others, for our hurtful, wounding remarks  and uncharitable criticism about others, for not asking forgiveness from others whom we have offended them, and for not granting forgiveness to others who have offended us.  We pray to the Lord.  “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

7)  Lord Jesus, we ask Your pardon and forgiveness for cheating in business or work, for stealing the goods of others, for not sharing our blessings with others in need, for not volunteering to help our neighbors in their difficult moments, and for not properly supporting our parish by offering our time, talents, and wealth to its various ministries. We pray to the Lord. “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

8)  Lord Jesus, we ask Your pardon and forgiveness for not bearing witness to you by our lives, radiating in our words, deeds, and attitudes Your love, mercy, kindness, spirit of forgiveness and service.  We pray to the Lord.  “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

General confession of sins (The Presider, priest or deacon, invites the assembly to kneel or stand and pray). My brothers and sisters let us call to mind the goodness of God our Father, and acknowledge our sins, so that we may receive His merciful forgiveness. Let us express our repentance by praying the Act of Contrition before we go to the priests to confess our sins.

Prayer before confession: “I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Act of contrition after confession of sins:

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good,
I have sinned against You Whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.
In His name, my God, have mercy.
Amen.

Concluding prayer: O Lord our God, look upon our weakness with compassion and forgiveness that we might be made whole again. Cleanse us of our sins, and free us from the prison of guilt, that we may live in the promised joy of Your salvation. And may God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit Who gives life to al grant us grace and mercy, this night and always, now and forever.

Individual confession to the priest