In Sunday’s gospel Jesus identifies the two greatest commandments–to love God with all our hearts and minds and our neighbor as ourselves. All of us, regardless of circumstances, can live these basic commandments rather than stereotype, judge, and disrespect others. We have the capabilities to brighten someone’s day, help people, spread joy, and learn from those different from us. The song “Love Song” is a reminder to love every day.
Lyrics: You are good to me / Still even better than I think / You are strong for me / For every time that I can’t be / I love You / It’s simple to say / But I love You / More every day / You see my heart and You know that it’s true / I love You / I love You, yes, I do / Yes, I do
Questions: How do labels affect how you see people around you? How does the fear of being labelled prevent you from being your true self? How can you help change the negative implications that labels can impose on others?
A blind beggar shouts out his faith Jesus can give him sight. This week’s SPIRIT explores a football player handles a bullet putting him in a wheelchair. Hard things at school, at work, or at home can put most of us in a funk of hopelessness but not Bobbie Brown, who finds new ways to move forward, take part, and inspire others. Andra Day’s song “Rise Up” is about recognizing that we are all brothers and sisters, and that we are all in this world together. Rising up can be as simple as forgiving someone who has hurt us, keeping faith when we wonder why life is so hard, or pushing for positive change when we notice injustice.
Lyrics: And I’ll rise up / I’ll rise like the day / I’ll rise up / I’ll rise unafraid / I’ll rise up / And I’ll do it a thousand times again / And I’ll rise up / High like the waves / I’ll rise up / In spite of the ache / I’ll rise up / And I’ll do it a thousand times again / For you
Questions: Think about a time when you experienced a challenging/traumatic event. What feelings did this event evoke? How did faith help you contend with what happened and find resilience in this difficult time? What are some ways you can share your experience and spread what you learned?
“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 or help put food on the shelves for hungry people or organize a sleep out to raise money to shelter homeless people. Hearing Jesus’ call to serve means finding ways to share our resources and sustain our neighbors and community. TobyMac’s song, “It Starts With Me” reminds us that a movement to help others can start from one small spark, one person.
Key lines: Cause we can be free, yeah I know that / Let’s try to fix the things that’s been broke down / ‘Cause we can be free, yeah I know that / And it starts with me / This language that I speak / This dream on you and me / But one choice from together / It starts with me
Questions: What service to others would like to 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?
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?
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?
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?