They are everywhere. In the office, there will surely be one who resents the promotion of an officemate. In school, there will surely be a student who feels cheated by the victory or excellence of another. In the church, people will feel bad when the pastor seems to favor a person or a group more. In the family, it happens that someone feels neglected because another member is enjoying the limelight.
Who am I describing here? The very people referred to in the first two readings of this Sunday–jealous and ambitious people. Jealousy here is not the possessive sentiment of lovers for each other, but really the sin called ENVY. The readings warm us against envy as a destructive spirit, as a spirit that kills joy within the human heart and impels us to kill another’s joy, too.
The Second Reading is explicit: where there is envy/jealousy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and foul practice. The First Reading describes how an envious person soon plots the downfall of good people around him. The Gospel tells us how even the disciples are envious of positions of closeness to the Lord Jesus Christ. What is ENVY? A quick look at our catechism book defines it as “the sadness at the sight of another’s goods and the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself, even unjustly. At times, it leads to wishes of harm to a neighbor. And that is when it becomes a mortal sin. A person becomes sad because another is more popular, successful, accomplished or loved. He wishes to trade places to that person and to get his blessings. Unable to realize this, he becomes sad. Envious persons are sad and insecure people.
St. Augustine call ENVY “the diabolical Sin,” because it gives birth to many other defects of character: hatred, detraction, calumny, joy at another’s misfortune, and sadness at another’s blessings. I think that the one who suffers most from the effect of envy is really the envious person, even if he continues to deny that he is without peace. Why is the Lord cautioning us against envy? Because it is very real in our lives. Envy is a capital sin, meaning, it is a big and present temptation in the heart of every person. Children and adults, the worldly and the religious are all vulnerable to envy. We will be lying if we deny that we do not feel even the slightest tinge of envy from time to time.
There is a way out to it as it is rooted in pride. Jesus prescribes HUMILITY, “Be the last of all and the servant of all.” Because envy operates through sadness, Jesus gives the example of a child who is happy, trusting and confident about himself and in God’s eternal love. To be released from envy, we must work hard at humility and openness to the love of God. We are also invited to be always thankful for the big or small blessings that come our way. JESUS GIVE ME THE GRACE TO RECOGNIZE YOUR LOVE IN ME AND IN OTHERS. AMEN. GOD BLESS!
#60 AN AMUSING HUMOR ON PRIDE: There is an amusing fable about a smart dog who talked out his two friend-ducks to fly him from the north to the south. The dog prepared for the trip by tying the ends of a long, stout cord to each of the duck’s necks. With his strong jaws he grabbed the cord at its middle and the trio took off. The journey was going well until someone on the ground looked up and, marveling at the ingenuity, he shouted, “Hey, that’s terrific! Whose idea is it?” In his eagerness to grab the credit, the proud dog opened his mouth to say “M-I-N-E!” letting go of his bite... Down he goes and fell to the ground and died. The moral lesson of this fable in found on Lk. 14, 11.
In this last week of August, we have the feast of St. Vincent de Paul on the 27th and on the 29th the feast of Ss. Of Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the Archangels to be celebrated respectively. This is all for now, watch for the next bulletin.
Your Priest-Servant and Parochial Administrator,