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The Loyal Catholic

By Niobe Rodrigues

According to yourdictionary.com, jealousy is defined as “a state or feeling of being envious or of wanting what someone else has.” In my opinion, when compared to envy, jealousy happens among people who have a close relationship or frequent contact or interaction with each other.

Why is that and how can we identify it in ourselves and our relationships? While looking for a suitable song this week, I read all the readings many times to see what would be a good fit. In doing so, I noticed in the Gospel something I had not seen before. The disciples began arguing amongst themselves who was the greatest only after Jesus said that He would be killed. Before these big men look to ask Jesus: how, when, why, what would we do after you’re gone; they were looking to see who would take His place. They had obviously forgotten what He had said in Mark 8 about denying self, taking up the cross and following Him. It makes me question what were they following Him for?

Were they doing it for the “likes” i.e., the popularity they received from being around Jesus? Were they not doing it for the love of God? But why should we study the disciples? What about you and I? Why are we Christians? Well, I was baptised when I was small…hello! Honestly, that doesn’t say much. Why do we stay Catholic? To make it easy for my child to go to a Catholic primary school, a prestigious Catholic secondary school, and possibly become a teacher in a Catholic school? Is that what it’s all about…me? Am I a Catholic because I believe in God and in living out my faith in the Catholic Church? It’s not easy living a Catholic life. You get shots taken at you left, right, and centre for what we believe in: no abortions, Jesus’ presence in the Blessed Sacrament, honouring Mary, no to contraception, a tarnished Church history and being criticised because the Archbishop is encouraging vaccination. I mean there must be an easier way to live.

This brings me to Nathanael’s song: Loyal. The opening line is:

“I prayed Jah deliver me from my enemies And you delivered me from some…friends”.

The song speaks of our desire for loyalty and people who will stick by our side when things get rough or be with us long before or after things go our way. Are we fair-weather friends to Christ? Only staying Christian or Catholic when things go our way and the Church says what we want to hear? Are we jealous of others in the Church who may seem to have stable careers, perfect marriages, happy children and being homeowners without knowing how much prayer, sweat, work and loyalty to God they had to put in to get these results?

Do we realise that we pray with envy and jealousy in our hearts? How far will that get us? Let us examine ourselves, stop looking at others, and address our own disloyalty to Christ, our own desires to put our needs and our wants ahead of His plan for us. Instead of seeking to replace Him, let us imitate Him: Be selfless, humble, a servant, and welcoming. Let us be loyal to Him and our community.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” ~ African Proverb