Music and the Gospel: “Once A Day,” Michael Franti, ft. Sona Rele & Supa Dups

“Whoever among you wants to be first must serve the needs of all. The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” This week’s SPIRIT focuses on service and the ways we can use our gifts to serve people who need our skills to help make our communities and the world a better place. COVID has shown us that many people do not have adequate access to basic necessities, whether this means a decent income to pay rent, healthcare, the internet, even food. Hearing Jesus’ call to serve means finding ways to share our resources and sustain our neighbors and community. Michael Franti’s song “Once A Day” reminds us that a movement to help others can start from one small spark, one person. “To be great means to serve all.”

Key lines: I heard the purpose of life’s to live a life full of purpose / And so don’t ever take for granted what the spirit has given you / In the first verse / You might never get a second verse / This ain’t a rehearsal, you can’t put it in reverse / Believe in yourself, don’t let nobody be a negative / Or tell you what to do / ‘Cause I know (’cause I know) / In this sweet, sweet life that just this much is true / ….And we all will rise up (spread your wings and fly) / And we all will rise up

Questions: What service to others can you do or start in your community or school? What has past experience working on a service project taught you or how has it changed your perspective? How do you define “greatness?” How does Jesus define “greatness?” What kind of community do you want for yourself and the world?

Music and the Gospel: “Heart Wide Open,” Mack Brock

A rich young man seems eager to follow Jesus until Jesus suggests that he give his money to the poor and come along with him and his other disciples. Teens are the young people Jesus asks to follow him today. These years are the time each of us starts to imagine adult life and recognize that what we believe and how we act may differ from friends, family, or community. St. Kateri Takawitha’s courage and faith exemplifies what it means to find and choose one’s own path.

Key lines: I know you see me as I am / I’m met with kindness / That knows no end / You pull me closer / Oh, there is freedom all around / Here in your presence / My walls come down… / So I’m gonna worship / With my heart wide open

Questions: How do you respond to Jesus’ invitation to follow him? To what or who do you give service out of your wealth of energy? Who do you see in your area or parish that needs help? What are you willing to give in service to the less fortunate?

Music and the Gospel: “Why,” Andra

This week SPIRIT focuses on relationships, and how they affect us and change us. Growing up involves developing relationships with significant others beyond the family. Sometimes these relationships are fun and carefree, sometimes complicated and difficult. Sometimes they last; sometimes they don’t. The high school years are the ideal time not only to make relationships but also when necessary to break them with care. Andra’s song “Why” expresses the hurt that can come with a break up, leading us to question ourselves and our feelings.

Key lines: If you don’t love me just say / I’ll never stay in your way / Nobody hurt me this way / Give me a reason to stay / I wonder, wonder, wonder why / I wonder why

Questions: What does being “in a relationship” mean to you? What characterizes a healthy relationship? What are symptoms of an unhealthy relationship? Who in your life reflects the type of relationship you want? Why?

Music and the Gospel: “Meant To Be,” Bebe Rexha, ft. Florida Georgia Line – 4th Sunday of Easter

Friends, family, people we date all influence us as we grow and mature. These relationships can be both positive and negative. They can challenge who we think we are and who we want to be. They can push us into mistakes and teach us how to be better people. More importantly, relationships can teach us about mutual respect and openness. The song “Meant To Be” is about being open to new experiences and relationships.

Key lines: Who knows where this road is supposed to lead / We got nothing but time / As long as you’re right here next to me, everything’s gonna be alright / If it’s meant to be, it’ll be, it’ll be ‘Baby, just let it be / If it’s meant to be, it’ll be, it’ll be

Questions: What does “meant to be” mean? Does it mean relationships just happen, work out somehow, or in what ways do friends have to work at their relationships? How many close friendships can a person have? What qualities do close relationships have? How are they different from other relationships? What do you value most in relationships? Who in your life exemplifies a healthy relationship?

Music and the Gospel: “Who Says,” Selena Gomez & The Scene – 3rd Sunday of Easter

In high school many people come together to form their own social groups. These groups, or cliques, often have expectations about how to dress and act and who to include as a friend. Sometimes we have to sort out who we really are and who we like regardless of what other people expect. The song “Who Says” is about pushing back on expectations that do not fit who we are. It encourages us to embrace ourselves and find true beauty and confidence in being we were are meant to be.

Key Lyrics: You made me insecure / Told me I wasn’t good enough / But who are you to judge? / When you’re a diamond in the rough / I’m sure you got some things / You’d like to change about yourself / But when it comes to me / I wouldn’t want to be anybody else

Questions: What qualities do you look for in friends? What qualities do people expect from you? When have you tried to be someone you’re not? What is something beautiful about you?

Music and the Gospel: “Your Grace Finds Me

Easter celebrates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and new life. The word resurrection means awakening. Easter calls us to pay attention to holy moments, both in and outside church, and reflect on their meaning. The song “Your Grace Finds Me” is about a renewed sense of awakening and the realization that God’s grace is everywhere.

Key lines: It’s there in the newborn cry / It’s there in the light of every sunrise / It’s there in the shadows of this light / Your great grace / It’s there on the mountaintop / It’s there in the everyday and the mundane / There in the sorrow and the dancing / Your great grace 

Questions: What does Easter celebrate? When have you been caught up in a holy moment? How do you show God’s love to people? When have you experienced holy moments in church?

Music and the Gospel: “The Getting Through,” JUDAH, ft. Amanda Lindsey Cook, Palm/Passion Sunday

Some experiences can shake our faith, especially when someone we love suffers. We may ask ourselves “why does God allow suffering?” The song “The Getting Through” is a reminder that even when we feel most alone, God is with us.

Key lines: Cause maybe the point is not the getting over / But the getting through / ‘Cause when I say “open” / All of my trust is fully in You / Then the waters open and then close / When I gеt to the other side / And I’ll look back at no bridgе / So my enemies can’t follow behind

Questions: What is the hardest thing about knowing that someone you love is suffering? How has suffering challenged your faith? How has God accompanied you in difficult times? How can you be there for someone else?

Music and the Gospel: “Head Full of Dreams,” Coldplay – 5th Sunday of Lent

This week’s SPIRIT is about making room for new dreams. Accepting changes in our plans or setbacks in our hopes isn’t easy. But keeping broken windows open brings in sunlight, new possibilities, and growth. Coldplay’s song “Head Full of Dreams” invites watching for the change we want to be.

Key lines: And say it’s true / It’s not what it seems / Leave your broken windows open / And in the light just streams / And you get a head / A head full of dreams / You can see the change you want to / Be what you want to be

Questions: When have you worked hard at something that doesn’t go as planned? How did you handle this? In what new directions did the change take you? What frightens you? What excites you about change? What are some examples of changes taking place in your life? How does change challenge you to grow?

Music and the Gospel: “God, Your Mama, and Me,” Florida Georgia Line, ft. The Backstreet Boys – 4th Sunday of Lent

God so loves the world that God’s Son becomes one of us. This is Sunday’s gospel message. Jesus’ mission reveals God’s love as he reaches out to all the people he encounters. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, or what you’re going through. The song “God, Your Mama, and Me” reminds us all that God loves and cares for us, imperfections and all.

Key Lyrics: Never gonna run dry, never gonna come up empty / Now until the day I die, unconditionally / You know I’m always gonna be here for ya / No one’s ever gonna love you more than / God, your mama, and me / God, your mama, and me / Unconditionally / God, your mama, and me

Questions: What relationship does God have with the world? What does Jesus show us about God’s relationships with all creation? Who shows you love when you feel down? How do you show love to others? What makes relationships difficult?