A mentor many years ago gave me sage advice I have never forgotten. He urged me in my work in non-profit management to listen carefully to what people say, then look at what they do. That, he said, will tell me far more than their words.
When I had an important hire to make, of course the resumé looked impeccable. The first interview was always impressive. Then I took them to lunch. Did they acknowledge the waitstaff or say thank you when the food arrived? Did they complain about the food or service? Were they genuinely grateful for what they had? Actions do indeed speak louder than words. We reveal our true selves in how we behave, especially when we do not think others are watching. Every weekend night during high school, as I was headed out to be with friends, my father would say, “Be a ‘G’,” meaning, be a gentleman.
So, Jesus asks, “’Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’”
We’ve experienced so much rancor and deception in these past months. So many awful words, lies, clichés, labels, and epithets strewn across the socio-political spectrum—often from religious leaders! But let’s go back to what Jesus suggests we do. Look at who’s actually doing the will of God. Who is kind and generous? Who brings peace? Who reaches out to the poor and those excluded from society? Who goes up to talk with the stranger? Who lifts the spirits of those in despair?
The gospel calls us to align our words with our actions, to put our faith into action and demonstrate the love we profess. Don’t just say it, be it!
Robert Hotz is a consultant with American City Bureau, Inc. and was the Director of The Passion of Christ: The Love That Compels Campaign for Holy Cross Province.