4th Week of Easter

Photo via Flickr user Waiting For The Word

Photo via Flickr user Waiting For The Word

“My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me.” – John 10.27

Good shepherds care for their flocks, or employees, or clients, or students as they do for themselves. They accompany their flocks through danger, drought, and dark valleys.

Hear what God’s voice directs you to do in your daily life. Be a caring friend and coworker this week, especially to those who seem outside the flock or in danger.

Prayer of the Week: Lord, you are my shepherd. Let me hear your voice.

Music and the Gospel: “Breakable,” Ingrid Michaelson; 4th Sunday of Easter

In “Breakable,” Ingrid Michaelson elaborates on how fragile our hearts are. Entering into relationship with others, whether it is friendship or romantic love, puts us in a vulnerable position because letting these people into our lives gives them the opportunity to both love and hurt us. God calls us to love others as we love ourselves. Remembering to love ourselves by making choices that keep us safe and healthy helps to protect our precious hearts and allows us to love God’s creation to the best of our ability.

Key Lyrics: Have you ever thought about what protects our hearts? / Just a cage of rib bones and other various parts. / So it’s fairly simple to cut right through the mess, / And to stop the muscle that makes us confess

Questions: Close your eyes and think of a time when you felt hurt or mistreated by someone you cared about. Stand up, and put your body into a position that represents how you felt in that experience. Shake it off. Now, think of a time when you felt genuinely loved by someone, comfortable in your skin and appreciated simply for being you. Put your body into a position that represents how being loved felt.

3rd Week of Easter

Photo via Flickr user AshtonPal

Photo via Flickr user AshtonPal

“Do you love me?” – John 21.17

Three times the risen Jesus asks his friend and disciple Peter the question, “Do you love me?” Perhaps Jesus asks three times because Peter denied Jesus three times. Live your answer to Jesus’ question this week. Testify in your actions that you love those with whom Jesus identifies in this world.

Give a gift of attentive, uninterrupted listening this week to two people — the one you love most and one very different from you, perhaps foreign in culture. Remember each evening ways your actions said, “Lord, you know that I love you.”

Prayer for the Week: You know that I love you.

Music and the Gospel: “Secrets,” Mary Lambert; 3rd Sunday of Easter

In “Secrets” Mary Lambert shares some of her own secrets and lists some that our society often encourages us to keep hidden within ourselves. When we are able to love ourselves as God does, fully and without hesitation, we are able to share our full selves with others. Our hearts are open to love all of God’s creation from the smallest microbe to the largest whale. When we embrace who we are, we may find that others are quick to follow in that embrace.

Key Lyrics: They tell us from the time we’re young / To hind the things that we don’t like about ourselves / Inside ourselves / I know I’m not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else / Well I’m over it

Questions: Who is a compass for you? What motivates you to act for justice? How have you developed these values? What is an example of following your heart or a cause you are fired up about? How does Jesus show us he is still alive today?

2nd Week of Easter

Photo via Flickr user Mark Sardella

Photo via Flickr user Mark Sardella

“Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe!” – John 20.27

Most of us doubt at times in our lives. We doubt faith matters or can change the world. We sometimes doubt that we ourselves, or people we love, or religious institutions can respond to the renewing Spirit.

Identify a specific doubt you carry. Ask for the guidance of the Spirit to resolve the doubt or to live into a new insight. Seek insight by walking and observing creation awakening to new life.

Prayer for the Week: I believe. Help my unbelief.

Music and the Gospel: “Am I Wrong,” Nico & Vinz; 2nd Sunday of Easter

Nico & Vinz share their struggle of feeling alone when they think outside the box and strive for something beyond their reach. They reassure themselves that persevering on this journey will make them grow. In the music video, we see that although they are physically alone at times, they are both on the same journey. Remembering that we are walking the same journey as Jesus, and as many other Catholics, can help us feel community with this larger group.

Key Lyrics: I ain’t tryna do what everybody else doing / Just cause everybody doing what they all do / If one think I know, I’ll fall but I’ll grow / I’m walking down this road of mine, this road that I call home

Questions: When do you feel outside the box at school, at your activities, among your friends, or within your own family? When do you experience wanting to reach for something but can’t do it alone? Create a poster that shows in words and pictures what you would like Jesus’ followers today to do for the world. Sign the poster. The next time you feel out of the box being a Christian, remember all the people who are on the journey alongside you.