Pride and New Friends
Opening Question: What are you proud of? Do you have a team that you're proud of?
First Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Don't you know that all of you form God's Temple? Don't you know that God's Spirit lives in you? If someone destroys God's Temple, God will destroy that person, for the Temple of God is holy, just like you are holy. So, don't blind yourselves. If someone thinks they're wise in today's world, let that person become a fool so he can know God's wisdom. The wisdom of today's world is stupid compared with God's wisdom. After all, the Bible says:
"God traps wise when they try to fool him."
It also says:
"The Lord knows the plans of the wise are useless."
So, stop boasting about Paul or Apollos or Cephas or any other people. Stop bragging about your knowledge of life or death or present times or future times. With the Spirit, all these people and all these things belong to you. With the Spirit, you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God.
"Wear your jacket with pride," Coach Leo told James. "You're now the team captain."
As James slipped on the jacket, the team responded with applause and hollers. He beamed.
"Cake anyone?" the team mother said.
James wore the jacket everyday for the next week.
On Friday, Fred who lived down the street saw James walking home from school. "Hey, James, you're going to lose tomorrow. Our team is much better."
James laughed, "We'll see."
Fred stepped toward James until he was just inches from his nose. "You're going to lose, I said."
James took one step back. "Fred, we'll find out tomorrow."
On Saturday, the field was moist from the morning dew, but the sun warmed the air for the 8:00 AM game. James played outfield and batted third in the line up. On the opposing team, Fred played first base. In the third inning, there was no score, then James looped a single into center field.
"Welcome to first base, you're not going anywhere else, loser," Fred said.
James smiled and took a huge lead. On the next pitch, James ran toward second base and slid. The catcher heaved the ball to the second base man. "Safe," screamed the umpire. James stood up, brushed off his pants and smiled at Fred.
There are two types of pride, the kind we share and the kind we keep to ourselves. We share pride in the group we belong to; this kind of pride builds others up. The kind of pride we keep to ourselves is meant for ourselves alone; since it's all about me, it tears others down. When we're proud of others, we're all lifted up. When I'm just proud of me, I think I'm better than others.
St. Paul talked about these two types of pride. He wanted the people at Corinth to be proud of their Church, which he called the "Temple of God." He criticized those in the Church who though so much of themselves, they thought they should be the leaders in the community. These people thought they were wise, but they were nothing more than braggers. This is false pride. True pride is pointed at other. This kind of pride doesn't say "look at me," it says "look at others, especially God."
Bridge Question: Is it hard to make friends sometimes? Why?
Gospel: ;Matthew 5:38-48
Jesus told his followers:
You've heard the saying, "Take an eye for an eye lost and a tooth for a tooth lost." But, listen to me. Don't take a stand against an evil person who has dragged you to court. Instead, if someone slaps your right cheek, turn the left to him for slapping.
If someone sues you in court for your jacket as payment for a debt, give him your shirt, too. If a soldier makes you carry his gear for one mile, carry it an extra mile. Give to anyone who asks you. Don't refuse anyone who wants to borrow something from you.
You've heard the saying, "Love your neighbors" but hate your enemies. But, listen to me. Love your enemies and pray for the bullies who hurt you. In this way, you can show everyone that you are children of your Father in heaven.
After all, God makes the sun rise on good and bad people. He makes the rain fall on the just and unjust. If you only love those who love you, what reward have you earned? Don't the evil tax collectors do the same? And if you only say "Hello" to your family and friends, what extra good deed have you done? Don't those who refuse believe in our God do the same? So, show your devotion to God in every little thing you do, in the same way God shows his complete devotion to you.
Doug and John were brothers but were not alike at all. Doug was outgoing and had many friends. John was shy and had few friends. Doug was good at sports, while John was more of a book worm.
John admired Doug and was even jealous of his ability to make friends. But Doug was embarrassed by John's shyness and didn't want him to hang around. Not only weren't Doug and John like each other, they didn't hang out with each other.
On one rainy day, John played his video game about dragons. Doug moped around the house with nothing to do. Doug poked his head into John's room, "What's going on?"
John didn't take his attention from the screen. "I'm on level 27 of 'Battle Dragon.'" John feverishly worked the controls on the game pad.
Doug walked in and stared at the flat screen monitor for a moment. "Didn't you get this game yesterday?"
"Thursday, two days ago." John continued to wield his axe and shield against a large menacing reptile.
"And you've been playing it non-stop for the past two days?" Doug said.
John hit the pause button and looked up at his brother. "No. I played an hour Thursday night and a few hours last night. I couldn't play that long today. We went to the store this morning, remember."
"How can you be on level 27 then? It must be an easy game."
"Not really, Doug." John looked at his game pad, then back to his brother. "I thought your were going to hang out with your friends at the mall today."
"Jack's got the flu and Ernie had to go to out of town with his uncle."
"Do you want to come in here and play the game with me, Doug? I can save this game and start another. The other game pad is in the box over there in my closet."
Doug looked at the closet, then back at John. 'Uh, sure.'
That day turned into a memorable day for Doug. His shy brother became a playmate and a friend. In fact, over the next year, John became Doug's best friend and John became a little more outgoing.
Jesus gave his followers instructions on how do deal with people, especially with those who are unfriendly. Jesus told them to reach out to them, be nice to them, help them when you can. This is what he meant by 'love your neighbor.' It's hard sometimes, but that advice can make you new friends.
Closing Question: Have you ever had someone who didn't like you become a friend? What happened?