Doing the Right Thing
Opening Question: What’s the best thing you’re heard lately?
First Reading: Isaiah 61:1-2,10-11
George was a good guy. He had a hearty laugh and a great sense of humor. Most important, George always had a way to make his friends feel better.
One day, George ran into Eddy. Eddy was upset by the argument he had with his father. “My dad yelled at me for the stupidest thing,” Eddy complained. “I lost it and began to yell back. I’m on restriction...again.”
“You look really down, Eddy,” George said. “When do you get off restriction?”
“Two weeks,” Eddy sighed.
“Two weeks. Hmmm. That’s a long time. But it will be just in time for the big party,” George said.
“What big party?” Eddy responded.
“Yours, of course!” George said.
Eddy could see that George was serious. “Wow!” Eddy thought, “a party for me?” “Why?” Eddy just blurted out.
“Because you’re my friend,” George said.
Two weeks later, Eddy did get off restriction. And the party, well, it turned into a few friends going to the movies. But Eddy never forgot how George helped him through some rough times. George’s friendship gave Eddy hope.
Like George, the prophet gave his people hope because he announced God’s friendship. Yes, the people had hard times, like Eddy. But friendship gives hope. There is no better friend than God.
Bridging Question: Have people ever criticized you for doing something? Didn’t they trust you or your reasons for doing it? Explain.
Gospel: John1:6-8, 19-28
God sent a man named John. John came to preach, so he could tell others about God’s Light to the world, and, so everyone would believe what he preached about the Light. John wasn’t the Light. John came so he could tell others about the Light.
This is what John preached. At that time, the leaders in the capitol sent representatives to ask him a question. “What sort of person are you?”
John gave them a clear and direct answer, “I am not the Messiah.”
“Who are you, then?” they pressed John. “Are you Elijah?”
“I am not,” John answered.
“Are you the Prophet we’ve been waiting for?” they asked.
“No,” John said.
“Tell us what sort of person you are,” they continued. “We need an answer for the people who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
John answered them in the words of Isaiah the prophet. “I am a voice shouting in the desert, ‘Make it easy for the Lord to arrive!’”
Some people from the Pharisees asked John, “Why do you always baptize if you are not the Messiah, or Elijah, or the Prophet we’ve been waiting for?”
“I just baptize with water,” John answered. “But someone has stood among you who you don’t recognize. He will come after I am gone. And I am not good enough to loosen the strap of his sandal.”
All this happened in Bethany across the Jordan river where John always baptized.
What would happen if your friends didn’t trust you? What would happen if they didn’t like what you did? What would happen if they questioned your reasons for doing it? Something like that happened to Sandy.
Sandy had a big heart. She always went out of her way to help others. This Christmas she decided to start a clothing drive at school for the poor. Her teacher loved the idea, but the principal did not. It took a conference with her parents, the principal, and the teacher so she could start collecting clothes.
Some of her fellow classmates loved the idea and pitched in to help. But her friends, like the principal, wondered why she wanted to collect clothes. They peppered her with questions. “Why are you wasting your time?” one girl asked. “You just want the attention, don’t you?” complained another. “You think you’re a big shot, don’t you?” a third chimed in.
To all of the questions, Sandy answered “No!” “No, collecting clothes was not a waste of time. No, I don’t want the attention; I just want to help others in need. No, I’m not a big shot; I’m just a girl like you.”
But her so-called friends gave Sandy looks that clearly said what they thought. “We don’t believe you!” they seemed to say.
Sandy felt lonely. She told her friends the truth and none of them believed her. But that didn’t stop her from her project. She wanted to help the poor, not to make her look good, but because these people were cold.
On the last day of the drive, Sandy was arranging the clothes into piles. The trucks had arrived to take the clothes to the homeless shelter. Suddenly, the principal and a woman walked up to Sandy. “Sandy,” the principal said, “ I would like you to meet, Ms. Johnson, the director of the shelter.”
“Thank you for the clothes,” Ms. Johnson said. “You’re efforts made a difference this year.”
That’s all Sandy wanted to hear. She made a difference, no matter what the principal and her friends said.
Like Sandy, John got questioned for what he did. Who did John think he was baptizing people and preaching? Did he think he was someone important? No, John wanted to prepare people for the Lord’s arrival. Like Sandy, he was there to serve and to make a difference.
Closing Question: How can you make a difference for others? How can you make life better for your parents? Your family? Your friends?