Jesus is with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Sunday’s gospel, three friends he loves. Spirit explores where and how we make our homes, friends, and families. Some people consider the people they live with as their only family; others create families by befriending others, caring about them, and keeping in touch. Cameron Perra met kids who quickly became family when he accompanied his dad who did medical work at an orphanage in Honduras. When we open ourselves up to people around us, we open ourselves up to new experiences, perspectives, and love.
Key Lines: Home is where I want to be / But I guess I’m already there / I come home, she lifted up her wings / Guess that this must be the place
Questions: What does home mean to you? Where are you most at home? How do you define what it means to be a family? Who belongs to your family?
“Without roots in the people, no government can avail, much less when it wants to impose its program through bloodshed and sorrow.” In 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated not long after he spoke these words. Romero challenged his government to end the violence that was sweeping through his country and killing his people. He refused to be silent about the injustice that was affecting the poorer classes of El Salvador. The song “Believer” is about recognizing the pain that injustice causes and using it as a force to bring about personal and social change.
Key Lines: First things first / I’ma say all the words inside my head / I’m fired up and tired of the way that things have been, oh-ooh / The way that things have been, oh-ooh / …Singing from heartache from the pain / Take up my message from the veins / Speaking my lesson from the brain / Seeing the beauty through the… / Pain!
Questions: Who do you see standing up injustice to people who are poor? What examples of injustice do you see in our society? How can you take a stand against them?
It isn’t easy to see the poverty in our own backyards if we are not living in it. People living without what they need don’t want us to see what is happening. Most of us want to help if we do see others, especially young people our own age, in tough situations. We serve God when we serve our neighbors. Some people have the means to donate money; other people donate time and talents. This week’s SPIRIT explores service and ways to put our faith into action. The song “In The Name Of Love” is a powerful song about what it means to be called to a higher purpose or cause. It’s also a challenge to move us into action.
Key Lines: I wanna testify / Scream in the holy light / You bring me back to life / And it ’s all in the name of love
Questions: Where do you see people living in poverty in your community? What are some ways you can serve in your local community? When have you felt called to a higher purpose?
This week’s Spirit focuses on open-mindedness and communication, on discovering what we have in common with people who hold different beliefs, come from different cultures, and have life experiences unlike our own. We live in a global world with social media and the internet at our fingertips. We need to learn how to build bridges between ourselves and so many kinds of different others. Lady Gaga’s song “Million Reasons” explores the desire to walk away from someone but acknowledges one reason to stay that overcomes all the others: love.
Key Lyrics: When I bow down to pray / I try to make the worst seem better / Lord, show me the way / To cut through all his worn out leather / I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk away / But baby, I just need one good one, good one / Tell me that you’ll be the good one, good one / Baby, I just need one good one to stay
Questions: When have you been in conflict or felt frustration with someone from a different background? How might you learn what you have in common? How does listening to others’ stories help you better understand them? When has talking led you to change your mind about someone or something?
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?
This week’s Spirit tells us the story of Father Tolton, the first African-American priest. It also touches on a time in American history when slavery existed and racism flourished. Unfortunately, despite the outlawing of slavery as well as the civil rights movement of the ’60s, recent events have shown that racism is still part of our society. Black Lives Matter; every person’s life matters. Accepting all who are different from us challenges us every day. Father Tolton gives an inspiring example of persevering against ignorance for the betterment of our communities and society.
Key Lyrics: What am I trying to find? / Are you alive, oh my Amerika? / Perennial with the Earth / And freedom, love, and law, and life / …It doesn’t mean that we can’t try / Fix me in your twilight eyes / So we can make a moment last
Questions: When have you experienced prejudice? How did you feel? Who in your school or city have you seen exposed to prejudice? How did you handle it? What are some ways you can combat prejudice in your school or city?