Good and Selfish People
Opening Question: What is the difference between a selfish person and a good person?
First Reading: Jeremiah 17:5-8
Mark and Daniel lived across the street from each other. They were in the same grade at the same school. But, even though they knew each other and talked with each other, they were not friends.
Mark was most interested in what entertained him. He stayed up late at night to watch TV. He constantly played his video games and his computer. He hung around with other kids spent most of their time putting down others. Because of his behavior, Mark missed a lot of school and had poor grades. Mark was happy doing what he wanted to do, and got mad at others who reminded him of anything we call "responsibility."
Daniel liked TV and video games and surfing on the Internet. But Daniel knew when to put those things aside and do his homework. He knew his bed time and the importance of healthy habits. Daniel also had many friends and these friends really liked other people. Because Daniel knew the benefits of responsibility, Daniel did well in school and was well liked by people at school.
The difference between Mark and Daniel is simple. Daniel was will to give up things that were fun right now for a goal; Mark wanted everything now and did not care about goals. People like Mark don't get very far, while people like Daniel have bright futures. People like Mark are dried up plants, while people like Daniel are trees with deep roots because of their hard work. The Daniels of the world will succeed no matter how bad things get.
Bridging Question: How can the good person influence the self people?
Gospel: Luke 6:17,20-26
After Jesus went up to the mountains to pray and choose his apostles, he came back down with them to the level plain. He stood among many followers. A large crowd of people from Jerusalem and all over Judea gathered around him. And there were many from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, too. Jesus looked directly at his followers. Then he taught them:
The poor are blessed. God's Kingdom is yours.
The hungry are blessed. You will soon eat your fill.
Those crying now are blessed. You will soon laugh.
You are blessed whenever people hate you. They ignore you, insult you, and treat your name as evil. They do this all because you follow the Son of Man. When that happens, jump for joy! Look! You have a huge reward in heaven! For, their ancestors treated the God's true prophets the same way they treat you.
But, watch out, you rich people! You've already lived a
Watch out, you over-eaters! You will soon go hungry.
Watch out, you jokers! You will soon cry and feel miserable.
Watch out when everyone likes you! Their ancestors also liked those who claimed to be prophets.
One night Mark was playing with matches alone in his room. Suddenly, a lit match feel on the bed and light the bedspread on fire. Mark panicked and began to run around the house. Mark's father calmly entered the room and matted down the flames with another blanket.
While the fire ruined Mark's bed and blankets, the smoke from the fire ruined many of Mark's Play Station games and sports card collection. Mark's first thought was not for what he did, but how he was going to replace the stuff he lost from the smoke.
At school the next day, Daniel heard what happened to Mark. Daniel went up to Mark and offered to help. "You can borrow some of my games. And I have some spare baseball cards you can have." Daniel's reaction surprised Mark. For a moment, Mark wondered why Daniel cared about others.
Jesus took the story of Daniel and Mark one step further. The people who are truly blessed, truly happy, are those who give up things, like games, for the benefit of others. The truly unselfish people of the world make themselves poor and hungry and sad for others' benefit. The truly selfish people want to make themselves rich and fat and happy, even if others suffer.
Even if we are truly unselfish, not every one will like us. People will even hate us for reasons we will never understand. But God, the most important person we know, will love us. And because he loves us unselfishly, he wants us to love others the same way.
Closing Question: How have you tried to help others? What happened? How did others react to your act of kindness?