Music and the Gospel: “This Is Me,” Keala Settle, 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 “This Is Me” tells us that we find true beauty and confidence in being we were are meant to be. It celebrates individuality.

Key Lyrics: When the sharpest words wanna cut me down / I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out / I am brave, I am bruised / I am who I’m meant to be, this is me / Look out ‘cause here I come / And I’m marching on to the beat I drum / I’m not scared to be seen / I make no apologies, this is me

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?

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Music and the Gospel: “Here For You,” Kygo ft. Ella Henderson, 30th Sunday Ordinary Time

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus teaches us the way to love God is to love one another. It doesn’t matter who we love, what religion we adhere to, what color our skin is, where we are on the economic scale. What matters the most is that we treat each other with respect, fairness, and kindness. The song “Here For You” is a promise to always stand by each other in the face of ignorance. We owe it to ourselves and our neighbors to be there for each other. In doing this, we create a safe community for all.

Key lines: When you feel you’ve had enough, and you wasted all your love / I’ll be here for you, here for you / When the dog is at his bone, and you run away from home / I’ll be here for you, here for you / Well I’m here for you, I’m here for you, you, you

Questions: What types of disrespect do you see in your school, community, country? What do you think can be done to challenge people who like to exclude others? When have you showed mercy to someone who wronged you? When has someone shown you mercy?

Music and the Gospel: “Fire,” Barns Courtney, 1st Sunday of Advent

Anger is a powerful emotion. Sometimes it turns a negative situation into a positive. It can give us strength to push through a difficult or painful situation. On the other hand, anger and resentment can lead us to lash out and say or do things we don’t mean, inflicting our own pain on someone else. As a result, anger can teach us valuable lessons in forgiveness and apologies. Barns Courtney’s song is about how our emotions motivate us and how we channel that fire.

Key Lyrics: Lonely shadows following me / Lonely ghosts come calling / Lonely voices talking to me / Now I’m gone, now I’m gone, now I’m gone / …Oh gimme that fire / Oh gimme that fire / Burn, burn, burn

Questions: Who or what has made you feel angry? How did you deal with it? How were you able to let the resentment go? When have you made someone else angry? How did this person forgive you?

Music and the Gospel: “Beamish Boy,” Daunt, Christ the King

Sometimes we make risky decisions. I don’t need to study for a test. I stay out a little later than I tell my parents. I decide that one drink at a party won’t hurt anything. Then I get busted and have two explain myself to those I respect and care about. Or, on the other hand, I’m the one a friend disappoints and I find the risky choice hard to forgive. Daunt’s song “Beamish Boy” is about blurring lines between wrong and right and ultimately making risky decisions. This week’s SPIRIT theme is about taking responsibility for the consequences that can result when we make hurtful decisions and break our promises.

Key Lyrics: Do you feel the same? / As the road begins to fray / The coming days / And what you’ll say / And you can’t decide / If it’s wrong or it’s right / What you’ve done here / For a better life

Questions: When have you felt disappointed in someone? What were the consequences? How did you forgive and move on or did you? What actions do you find difficult to forgive? When have you been forgiven?

Music and the Gospel: “Youth,” Troye Sivan, 33rd Sunday Ordinary Time

This week’s SPIRIT theme is about choices and circumstances. Troye Sivan sings a song that plays the “what if” game, just like one of the characters in this week’s story. She wonders what would have happened if she hadn’t rubbed the cross on her visor; however, her friends point out that God is always with us, no matter what choices we make and the circumstances we find ourselves in. But choices have consequences. We can trust in God to stay with us no matter the consequences but not to prevent them.

Key Lyrics: What if, what if we start to drive / What if, what if we close our eyes / What if, speeding through red lights into paradise / …Cross your fingers, here we go

Questions: What choices have you made without seeing the consequences? When have you been lucky enough to escape consequences you didn’t see coming? When have you felt God’s presence in a tough time? How has faith helped you make decisions or get through a difficult time?

Music and the Gospel: “Sound of Silence,” Disturbed, 31st Sunday Ordinary Time

The song “The Sound of Silence” is about people being unable to bridge the gaps between them and communicate or understand one another. Often times, we take one look at someone and think we know all about them based on where they are from, how they speak, how they dress, even their skin color. These snap judgments prevent us from being open and accepting and can create an environment of silence that can be even more hurtful than words spoken aloud.

Key Lyrics: “Fools,” said I, “You do not know / Silence, like a cancer, grows / Hear my words that I might teach you / Take my arms that I might reach you.” / But my words like silent raindrops fell / And echoed in the wells of silence

Questions: When have you  judged someone? When have you felt judged? How do you treat someone who creates distance from you? How can you help create bridges between different groups within your community?

Music and the Gospel: “Just Like Fire,” Pink, 29th Sunday Ordinary Time

As of 2013, roughly 65 million children (over half of them girls) were unable to continue school beyond an elementary grade level. This is especially common in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Many of the girls in these countries are actually expected to get married and start families at very young ages. Schools like the Kenya Girls Soccer Academy aim to help girls to finish their education, which will then allow them to get jobs that will hopefully raise them out of poverty. These schools also create a support system for the girls and encourage them to be more confident in themselves and their capabilities. Pink’s song blazes forth with self-empowerment and strength. It emphasizes the power confidence can give anyone to break through barriers and change their community and the world.

Key Lyrics: Just like fire, burning out the way / If I can light the world up for just one day / Watch this madness, colorful charade / No one can be just like me anyway / Just like magic, I’ll be flying free

Questions: Who is a female role model in your life? In what ways is she strong? What has she had to overcome? What is education important?