Music and the Gospel: “Heart Wide Open,” Matt 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: “Let Me Down Slowly,” Alec Benjamin

Growing up involves us in branching out and 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 to make relationships and learn to break them with care. This week’s SPIRIT focuses on relationships, and how they affect us and can change us.

Key lines: Don’t cut me down, throw me out, leave me here to waste / I once was a man with dignity and grace / Now I’m slipping through the cracks of your cold embrace / So please, please / Could you find a way to let me down slowly? / A little sympathy, I hope you can show me / If you wanna go then I’ll be so lonely / If you’re leaving baby let me down slowly

Questions: What does being “in a relationship” mean to you? How many friends do you like to have? What characterizes a healthy relationship? What are symptoms of a 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 Georga 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: “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?

Music and the Gospel: “We Got The Power,” Gorillaz, 2nd Sunday of Easter

Jesus calls forth their best selves in his disciples and sends his friends forth to spread the good news of his resurrection. Thomas touches the risen Jesus’ wounds and believes. SPIRIT extends the call that echoes down the centuries to continue Jesus’ mission, to go forth, and help our neighbors during times of need and crises. The song “We Got the Power” is an anthem about loving each other and working together towards a better future.

Key lines: We got the power to be loving each other / No matter what happens / We’ve got the power to do that / On a le pouvoir de s’aimer, okay? / We got the power to be ringing the great bell out there above us / We got the power for that / We got the power to do that

Questions: When have you experienced a community in crisis from tragedy or disasters? What did people need? What ways did you find to help people? When have you seen a community stand together? What initiatives would you like to start or volunteer for within your community?

Music and the Gospel: “Look After You,” Aron Wright, Palm/Passion Sunday

Some experiences can shake our faith. Something goes wrong, or we watch someone we love suffer pain. During these times, it can be a challenge to feel God’s presence. We may ask ourselves “why does God allow suffering?” The song “Look After You” is a reminder that even when we feel most alone, God is always looking after us.

Key lines: And if you ever should lose hope / Follow my light from afar / When you don’t know where you’re going to / I will look after you / I will look after you

Questions: What is the hardest thing about watching someone you love suffer? How has suffering challenge your faith? How has God been there for you during difficult times? How can you be there for someone else?