Opening Question: Have you ever met someone who said one thing and did another? Someone who did keep their promises? How do you feel when you depend on someone like that, and they let you down?
First Reading: Exodus 22:21-27
Sally and Cherie were sisters. Both of them looked alike and talks alike. But the differences ended there.
Sally talked a lot. In fact, she complained a lot. But she didn’t do anything about her complaints. She depended upon others to do things for her.
Cherie, however, was quiet, but she did things. She did things for herself and for others. She didn’t complain much. She just figured out ways to get things done.
One day, the girls saw a homeless man as they walked down the street. “I sure wish we could help that man,” Sally said. “Oh well,” she added, shrugging her shoulders.
While Cherie didn’t say anything, she was thinking of ways to help. A week later, she had already mentioned the poor to her teachers and helped to begin a food drive for the local homeless shelter.
When Sally found out about her sister’s work, she complained. “Why does Cherie get to do all the good stuff?” She didn’t understand the difference between giving and talking. Giving meant doing without complaint.
When people complain about others, it means they either will do nothing, like Sally, or worse. When God told his people to help the poor, he did not mean that they could complain. He meant help them. He meant they should act like Cherie. Give without complaint.
Bridging Question: How do you know someone likes you?
Gospel: Matthew 22:34-39
While he taught in the Temple, Jesus argued about the resurrection of the dead with the Temple leaders named Sadducees. When the other leaders called Pharisees heard Jesus won the argument, they went as a group to Jesus. One of their experts on the Jewish Law tried to trick Jesus into saying something wrong. “Teacher,” the expert said, “What is the most important command in the Jewish Law?”
Jesus answered, “‘Love God with all the feeling in your heart, with all the energy within you,’ and with every thought in your mind. This is the most important command. The next in importance is just like it. ‘Love everyone like you love yourself.’ The entire Bible depends on these two commands.”
“Show me!” Theo demanded. “Show me you believe in this team!” As the quarterback for his football team, called the Magic, Theo had the responsibility to get his teammates fired up about the game. His coach and his team depended upon Theo. Theo could not let them down.
But, this week they would play their rivals from the other part of the city. That team was called the Wolves. For the past five years, the Wolves beat the Magic. And the Wolves won the city championship four times in a row. Like they did before, the Wolves figured they would show the Magic that they were the better team.
When the Magic and the Wolves played, everyone got too excited. People would say things that weren’t very nice, things they wouldn’t usually say. People would do crazy things they wouldn’t usually do. This year, the fans of the Wolves wore T-shirts that said “Magic disappear!” They even stole the Magic’s team banner. When the banner was found, “Wolves” was painted all over it. The Wolves’ fans wanted to show the Magic who the better team was. The team and fans of the Magic felt down.
But, the coach of the Magic didn’t feel that way. He had the team working hard that week. They practiced new plays and new strategies. The coach showed his team the video of the last Wolves game. They learned how the new Wolves team played. And they learned how to beat them. But just one thing was missing: Show me. “Show me you believe!” The coach yelled. “Show me we can beat the Wolves!” Theo added. “Show me!” the team mates said to each other.
By game time, the Magic was fired up. “Show me!” Theo yelled. “Show me!” his team mates responded. The Wolves just laughed. They didn’t think much of the yell. Then the game started.
The Magic got the ball first. On the first play, the offensive line of the Magic pushed the Wolves back and opened a hole for Theo. The quarterback ran quickly. Before he knew it, he reached the end zone. Touchdown! “We showed them once,” Theo said. “Let’s show them again.”
Throughout the game “Show me!” got louder and louder. Even the parents of the Magic began to shout it. The more the Magic heard it, the harder they played. And in the end, they showed the Wolves who the better team was. Magic 39, Wolves 13.
The Magic took their faith in themselves and showed on the football field. When Jesus said to love God and love your neighbor, he meant the same thing. Take your love and show it to others. Love God by the way you act. Love your neighbor by the things you do for them. When you love, “show it!”
Closing Question: What can you do to show others you love God? How can you show your love of neighbor?