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The following Links for Learners study guide is based on an article in the St. Anthony Messenger online edition. It is designed for young Catholics, particularly those in high school.

Links for Learners | March 2003

By Lynn and Bob Gillen

"How Did You Experience Jesus Today?"

Q U I C K S C A N

Finding Curriculum Connections
Understanding Basic Terms
Receiving Jesus' Love
When I Was Hungry
When I Was Thirsty
When I Was Naked
When I Was a Stranger
When I Was Ill
When I Was in Prison
Research Resources


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Links for Learning

Finding Curriculum Connections for High School Students and Their Teachers

This month’s Links for Learners will support high school curriculum in:

• Christian lifestyles—finding Jesus through the love of others; the Incarnation

Understanding Basic Terms in This Month’s Article

Look for these key words and terms as you read the article.  Definitions or explanations can be researched from the article itself, or from the resource materials cited throughout the Link for Learners. 

Reflection

Incarnation

Wounded healer

 

Affirmation

Christ's fingerprints

Receiving Jesus' Love

Today's media thrives on entertaining its audiences by putting people down. Joe Millionaire deceives and then rejects scores of candidates before settling on "the one." American Idol aggressively scorns all hopefuls, leaving them angry or in tears, till one makes it to the top.

We hear the popular and successful Pink use song lyrics that proclaim her difficulties with self-esteem. "I'm my own worst enemy," she sings.

Where do we find self-affirmation in this environment? This month's author invites us to reflect on an often neglected point of view—ourselves as recipients of Jesus' love. We've all seen the bumper sticker that reads "WWJD" (What would Jesus do?) This month we take a different perspective—What does Jesus do? What does he do in my life?

The author points out that we cannot do for others what we have not experienced ourselves. How has Jesus served your needs through the actions of another person? That is the question on which we should all reflect.

For these moments of reflection, let's use the author's framework from chapter 25 of Matthew's Gospel, the compelling story of finding Jesus when we care for our sisters and brothers. In this reflection we are the recipients of care.


When I Was Hungry

A Gospel story—
Hordes of people followed Jesus around the countryside, hungry for his teaching. They also had no food. Jesus gathers some pieces of fish and bread, and miraculously feeds thousands.

One teen's story—
We hunger for knowledge, for a place to fit in, for belonging. Seventeen-year-old Emily from Los Altos, California, knows how wonderful it feels to be part of a prestigious laboratory research team. She says she's lucky to be part of the internship program that gives high school students a chance to do lab work at Stanford University.

My story—
I wanted so much to make the cast for the school drama performance. I didn't get in. But today the drama teacher gave me a book of monologues and told me to practice for next year's auditions!


When I Was Thirsty

A Gospel story—
In John's Gospel, the Samaritan woman at the well felt she had two strikes against her. She was from a shunned town and was a woman in a man's society. Jesus asked her for a drink of water. Does he know who he's talking to, she thought. But Jesus knew what was in her heart—both her sinfulness and her thirst for goodness.

A teen's poem—
Jessica H., a teen writing in the online Teen Ink magazine, offers her poem, "The Last Strawberry." She treasures the memories she will always carry of a relationship's laughs, tears and walks.

My story—
I was thirsty for attention. I wanted to be noticed. No one thinks I'm interesting, or funny, or smart. But today at lunch a girl asked me if I would be an officer for the school's new film club!


When I Was Naked

A Gospel story—
Two blind men, naked in their vulnerability, beg Jesus to restore their sight. After he does, they respond in faith to become his followers.

A teen's poem—
Calie H. writes of a wonderful person, A Good Nurse, who cared for her in her illness and listened all night, even when "the lightning bugs burnt out."

My story—
No one likes the way I dress. I don't have cool clothes. But today I wore a shirt my dad gave me, and two boys said it was a cool shirt!


When I Was a Stranger

A Gospel story—
Ten lepers, alienated from society by their disease, approach Jesus to beg for a cure. Jesus cures them, and later one returns in gratitude to offer thanks.

A teen's poem—
Breanna D. would rather hear lies—"tell me I was almost worth having"—than the painful truth of rejection.

My story—
I am an immigrant to this country and can't speak English very well. I do not feel comfortable in school. But today a teacher spoke to me in my native language!


When I Was Ill

A Gospel story—
Mark's Gospel tells us of a woman with a hemorrhage, a chronic medical condition that plagues her every day. Her faith in Jesus is so strong that she just touches Jesus' garment and she is healed. Imagine her incredible gratitude.

One teen's story—
Allison Blass is a teen with type 1 diabetes. At the age of 15 she was chosen as a delegate to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Children's Congress. Receiving that opportunity led Blass to her love of advocacy. She now speaks out for young people with diabetes.

My story—
My broken ankle put me off the basketball team and is slowing me down everywhere I go. I can't walk on crutches. No one wants to wait for me. But today a senior stopped to say it happened to him last year, and he understands how much I must be hurting!


When I Was in Prison

A Gospel story—
Zacchaeus, a tax collector and a short man, climbs a tree to get a good look at Jesus. Trapped in an unpopular profession and disadvantaged in stature, he is stunned to hear Jesus say, "Get down from the tree. I'm coming to your house for dinner." Why is Jesus noticing me out of this crowd of people, he wonders.

A teen's poem—
Dork Days describes Margot L.'s "jacked up backpack and two left feet."

My story—
I am trapped inside this body. No one could possibly think I'm handsome or pretty. I look like a dork. But today Mom told me I looked pretty. Yeah, I know, she's my mom. But still, I feel prettier now!


Being a Living Example

This Links for Learners provides a framework for recognizing how others have helped us experience Jesus in our lives by their actions. Identify specific instances where you have experienced Jesus through others. Then think about ways you have helped others experience Jesus' kindness through your actions.

The author sums up her point with this quote from C. S. Lewis: "So it was you all along. Everyone I ever loved, it was you. Everything decent or fine that ever happened to me, everything that made me reach out and try to be better, it was you all along."

Research Resources

Try accessing some of these Internet sources for further general reference.  Be aware, however, that some of these sites may charge for downloading articles contained within the site’s archives.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The New American Bible

Documents of Vatican II 

The Vatican

The New York Times

The Los Angeles Times

The Chicago Tribune

The Washington Post

The Miami Herald

The Associated Press

Time Magazine

CNN

MSNBC

ABC News

Pathfinder—Access site to a number of online news publications

People magazine

The History Channel

The Close Up FoundationWashington, D.C.-based organization

Channel One —online resource for the school channel


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