Let Your Light Shine!
Opening Question: Who do you look up to? Why do you look up to them?
First Reading: Isaiah 58:7-10
There are people of light and people of darkness. The people of light show their hearts by giving freely to others. The people of darkness hide their hearts with selfishness.
Sandy gives freely while Jerry throws fits when he doesn't get his way. Sandy volunteers at a food shelter for the homeless. But Jerry stays at home to watch TV. Sandy cleans out her closet and gives her old clothes and toys to the poor. Jerry would never part with anything unless his parents made him. Sandy stops for people who hurt, while Jerry's too much in a hurry to help.
Everyone wants to be like Sandy. No one wants to be like Jerry. Everyone wants to shine like Sandy. No one wants to live in the dark like Jerry.
Bridging Question: How does God want us to shine?
Gospel: Matthew 5:13-16
Jesus told his followers:
You are salt for the people of the world. But if salt becomes dirty, how will it become pure again? Dirty salt has no value, except to be thrown on roads so people can walk over it.
You are light for the people of the world. At night, the light from a city on a mountain top can't be hidden. No one lights a lamp to hide it under a basket. No, he places a lamp on a stand to spread light throughout the house. So, shine like light before everyone you meet. Then, they can see all the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.
Unlike TV wrestling, thousands of kids across the United States really wrestle. As a sport, wrestling requires strength, speed, flexibility, balance, and skill. Above all, wrestling requires the person never give up.
In competitive wrestling, kids score points in the match by getting their opponents into a hold or escaping from a hold. Kids win their match when they score more points than their opponents during three periods that last two minutes each. Or, they win when they pin their opponents shoulders to the mat.
Billy wrestles on a junior varsity team for a local high school. He is strong, he is fast, and he has skill. But, Billy lacks some balance, because, unfortunately, his right leg ends just below the knee. He wears a prosthetic leg when he walks. When he wrestles, he doesn't wear it. He hops around until he gets on his hands and knees. Then he tries to wrestle his opponent to the wrestling mat. When most kids are on the mat, they can use their legs to balance and pin their opponent. Without the lower part of his right leg, Billy can't do either.
Billy has not won a match this season. Most of the time he gets pinned. But his teammates and their parents cheer Billy on, for his courage and his determination. Billy is a light that inspires the rest of the team and everyone around him.
At his last match, Billy fought his best. He escaped several times and almost pinned his opponent several times. For a while, Billy was winning. At the end of three periods, however, Billy lost by just one point. But that didn't stop over 150 teammates, parents, and friends to cheer for Billy after the match. The shy Billy hopped back to his teammates who gave him high fives and hugs. For a brief moment, the smile on Billy's face light up the gym. While he lost the match, he won the hearts of everyone there.
People like Billy light up the world. They want something good, and they work hard to get it. Jesus wants us to work hard for good things. And he never wants us to give up.
Closing Question: Do you know someone, like Billy, who works hard for something, and doesn't give up? Explain how they don't give up. How does Jesus help us not to give up?