The Power of Sacrificial Love

The Power of Sacrificial Love

Session Overview (for facilitators): Today’s Gospel focuses on the crucifixion, where Jesus laid down His life, sacrificed Himself, for us on the cross—out of love. He teaches us that love, true love, always leads to the cross and the dying to self. Like Jesus, we are called to sacrificial love—to laying down our lives for others—especially in our homes and neighborhoods.


Opening Prayer:

Good and Gracious God, from the very beginning of time you made man and woman to live in loving relationship with you and one another. The family, created to be a reflection of your sacrificial love, is meant to continue your mission of love in the world. Be with us today as we reflect on the power of sacrificial love to transform our relationships and our homes. Help each member of our family to know how deeply loved they are by God. Help us to know our family is holy and loved, even in the midst of struggles and challenges, knowing wherever two or three are gathered in your name, you are present. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.


Scripture Reading:
The Gospel according to Mark (15:22-41):

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
— which is translated Place of the Skull —
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
“The King of the Jews.”
With him they crucified two revolutionaries,
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
“Aha! You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes,
mocked him among themselves and said,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe.”
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”which is translated,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
“Look, he is calling Elijah.”
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed
and gave it to him to drink saying,
“Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.


The Gospel of the Lord:

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


Reflection Video with Lyrics: (choose either one or your own)


For Facilitator Use: You may choose either of these great videos. The first reflects on the crucifixion and the power of the cross to heal and transform the human heart. The second video, Lay it Down, speaks to our need to lay down our lives, each and every aspect, at the foot of the cross.


The Power of the Cross by Chris Tomlin





Lay it Down by Matt Maher



Lead into the session video with these group discussion questions:

  1. What does “The Lord’s Passion” mean to you?
  2. How does the reading of the Passion, his crucifixion, affect you?
  3. In what ways do I want to be more like Christ?

Please show the Session Video: The Power of Sacrificial Love by Mary Pedersen


Discussion Questions:

  1. ­How does our society think of passion? How does the real meaning of passion, “to suffer for,” change your idea of passion?
  2. When has someone demonstrated, in a very tangible way, sacrificial love (cost them time or money) for you? Have you thanked this person for his/her sacrificial love?
  3. Sacrificial love, the laying down of our lives for others, can be shown in the simplest ways (turning off the computer to read a child a book, etc.), yet it often seems hard.
  4. What are some simple ways you can be more active in sacrificial love?
  5. What are some of the obstacles, with God’s grace, you will need to overcome?
  6. When have you witnessed someone lay down his/her life in a very large, heroic way (giving up retirement to raise a grandchild, giving up a job to care for an elderly parent, caring for a special needs child, etc)?
  7. Name at least one new way you will show Christ’s sacrificial love in your home.
  8. Name at least one new way you will, as a family, sacrifice for someone in your neighborhood or community.
  9. What was most helpful from this session?


Closing Song: I Send You Out by John Angotti


Closing Prayer: Holy Family Prayer

Let us pray with expectant faith for the growth of the faith of our families and the transformation of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.


Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

in contemplating your example of love,

we wish to follow your way of holiness.


Holy Family of Nazareth,

may each family of the Archdiocese of Dubuque

discover, embrace, and live its true vocation

as the domestic church—the place of intimate communion and prayer.


Holy Family of Nazareth,

may each home become an authentic school of the Gospel,

may each table provide rich and satisfying nourishment, and

may each hearth extend compassionate love and mercy.


Holy Family of Nazareth,

make us every mindful of each family’s call to holiness

and beauty.


Jesus, Mary and Joseph, give us the desire to make our families more like yours.

Help each family realize that family matters and our mission is love.


We ask this through Christ, our Lord.