FROM THE DESK OF FATHER DAVIS
Where are your loyalties? What do they say about you? To what or to whom are you loyal? Loyalty to anything or anyone significant to us in life is always demonstrated by attitudes, words, and deeds that underscore the value we ascribe to something important to us. It’s obvious for all to discern what is important to another person by seeing how much time they spend ON something or how much time they spend WITH someone they love. On many levels, time spent is a great indicator of loyalty.
If something is important to us, it draws our attention. Perhaps it becomes our focus. If someone is of value to us, we spend time with them. We choose our words carefully when we speak with them. We also make our relationship with them a priority. Loyalty is closely associated with delight in something, someone, or even a cause. Loyalty often expresses itself in attentiveness, even in love of the other, expressing itself in discernible actions and choices reflective of our core values.
Loyalty seems to be today’s theme from Scripture. It accurately reflects God’s loyal loving concern for the welfare of his people. But, spiritually speaking, it also reflects a measuring stick regarding our own disposition toward the things of God, and with regard to our relationship with him. How do your attitudes, words, and deeds reflect your loyalty to the Lord? Or don’t they? The Gospel today suggests that our attentive embrace of God’s agenda for our world, even the smallest gestures of charity, kindness, and generosity (yes, even giving a cup of water to “one of these little ones” for the sake of Christ) will reflect evidence of loyalty to our Lord Jesus, particularly when we act in his name. Our use of time on behalf of the works of the Gospel will likewise speak volumes about our loyalty to Jesus. Our relationship with Jesus should engender love in our hearts that should say something about our own identity, purpose, and core values.
A country like ours, founded on godly principles, has long been known as a place of opportunity, welcome, of freedom, and of the ability to make dreams reality, of generosity toward our fellow citizens, as well as toward those on the world stage, and of loyal togetherness in sharing the journey of life in a beautiful land which has brought such blessings to so many, from sea to shining sea. Yet, given the tone that we often hear in the mainstream media, you’d never know that we still have a rich spiritual heritage that still unites us. Our contemporary world seems to be one of headlines, talking points, sound bites and commercial arts that encourage us to make snap judgments about issues, actions, intentions, behaviors, and the character of others. Often this challenges our ability to discern the veracity of that which is heard. The vitriol in our modern public square seems to pit citizen against citizen, seriously damaging the solidarity that should characterize our great citizenry, and its founding core values. We certainly need to get back to a healthy tone, to our foundational values of respect, common decency, unity, and loyalty to our heritage. I can’t help but to think that we are also in great need of discovering godliness again, and grounding our lives in the God of our Founding Fathers.
As Catholics, it is even more incumbent upon us to reflect on this invitation. We might ask ourselves, do our actions, words and deeds really reflect our loyalty to the Lord? Do our lives manifest a discernible loyalty to God by behaviors that speak of gratitude for all that he has done for us? Are we loyal sons and daughters of the Almighty, parts of the royal family, a unified people, fiercely committed to the God of heaven and earth?
May our attitudes and the use of our time, words, and deeds (great or small) always reflect our loyalty as members of the household of God’s people, bringing us life.