Music and the Gospel: “Light On,” Maggie Rogers, 4th Sunday of Lent

Throughout our lives we make many decisions. Some are no-brainers. Some are difficult and scary, even painful and heartbreaking. Spirit follows the inner workings of one young woman’s thought process as she weighs her options, her conscience, and the advice of those around her to make the best choice possible for all involved. The song “Light On” is about finding the inner strength to make difficult, challenging decisions. It’s also an expression of gratitude for all the people in our lives who help us when we need it most.

hen I’ll leave the light on (Light on, light on, light on) / And I am finding out / There’s just no other way / That I’m still dancing at the end of the day

Questions: Think back to a time when you had to make a difficult decision. How did you feel? What options did you see? What reasons went into your choice? What consequences did you see? What resulted from your decision and what did you learn from the experience?

Music and the Gospel: “Second Chances,” Imagine Dragons, 3rd Sunday of Lent

Making mistakes is a part of growing up. Sometimes we learn the hard way that our actions have consequences and affect not only ourselves but also those around us. Not studying for a test may result in a low grade, staying up too late may lead to oversleeping in the morning, inattentive driving can lead to an accident. Consequences can remind us that we are not perfect and teach us how to act responsibly. We all make mistakes and second chances. The song “Second Chances” is about asking for forgiveness, accepting consequences, and learning from our mistakes.

Key Lyrics: Open up again, I believe in second chances / Please let me in, I believe in second chances / I won’t break you, I will not let you down / Open up again, I believe in second chances / Quicker than lightning, whiter than bone / If you can erase it, then I can atone

Questions: When have you needed a second chance? When have you been given a second chance? What did you learn from the experience? When have you given a second chance to someone else? How can you use what you’ve learned to help someone else?

Music and the Gospel: “Walk Me Home,” Pink, 2nd Sunday of Lent

Painful emotions can throw off our sense of self and purpose. Some of us face the challenge, slowly adjust, and move on. Painful experiences push us to grow, expand what we are capable of, and strengthen how we handle things. The song “Walk Me Home” is about moving through a tough time (either by embracing it ourselves or asking for help) and pushing ourselves forward.

Key Lyrics: Walk me home in the dead of night / I can’t be alone with all that’s on my mind, mhm / So say you’ll stay with me tonight / ‘Cause there is so much wrong goin’ on outside / There’s somethin’ in the way I wanna cry / That makes me think we’ll make it out alive / So come on and show me how we’re good / I think that we could do some good, mhm

Questions: What has surprised you lately? How has a painful experience changed your idea of who you are? What did you learn from it? How were you able to move on? How can you use your experience to help others going through something similar?

Music and the Gospel: “Better Than Today,” Rhys Lewis

This week’s SPIRIT tells us the story of Father Tolton, the first African-American priest, whose dedicated ministry wore him out too young. Racism and white privilege persist—Jim Crow laws, current incarceration levels, the death of too many young African Americans. Black Lives Matter. Accepting all who are different from us challenges us every day. Father Tolton gives an inspiring example of persevering against ignorance to serve Black Catholic parishes. The song “Better Than Today” is reminds us all of the strength we have inside of us and create positive change within our community and the people around us.

Key Lyrics: I don’t read the headlines / And I don’t watch the news / ‘Cause silence faith in something every time I do / Well I don’t need to bury / My head in the sand / But I’m just tryna live this life as best as I can / Times get tough / But I don’t give up / ‘Cause I know I’m not alone

Questions: When have you experienced prejudice? How did it make you feel? What did the experience teach you? When have you recognized prejudice in yourself? Who in your school or city have you seen disrespected? How did you handle it? What are some ways you can combat prejudice in your school or city?

Music and the Gospel: “Love Someone,” Lukas Graham

Relationships with others become more complex as we mature. Some friendships end, some deepen. We develop crushes, pair up, break up, figure out how to make relationships work. This week’s SPIRIT discusses what it means to have healthy, strong relationships and, eventually, marriage. The song “Love Someone” is about what it means to open your heart and love.

Key Lyrics: ‘Cause you still look perfect as days go by / Even the worst ones, you make me smile / I’d stop the world if it gave us time / ‘Cause when you love someone / You open up your heart / When you love someone / You may grow / If you love someone

Questions: What does being in a relationship mean to you? What qualities are important in a relationship? What makes for a healthy relationship? What warns you a relationship isn’t healthy? What does “love” mean to you?

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?