Do not be Jealous

Sunday readings in Brief 26 B
Num 11:25-29; Ps 19; Jas 5:1-6; Mk 9:38-48
Do not be Jealous
My dear friends, today is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary time. We are approaching the end of the liturgical year, which has 34 Sundays of the ordinary time, and that ends with the feast of Christ the king. Today, in both first reading and the Gospel, the spirit of jealousy is being condemned. Jealousy is defined as resentment or mental uneasiness against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage or against another person’s wellbeing. Jealousy is something that comes from within when a person is not able to focus on his or her own advantages or successes. Instead, the person spends more time analyzing the success and advantages of others and wish he or she could match them.
In the first reading, Moses had lamented to God because the weight of leading the people of Israel had become too heavy for him. God asked him to choose 70 men to who he would give some of Moses’ spirit in order to assist him in leading the people. Now when the men gathered at the door of the tabernacle as the Lord had ordered, two of the chosen men were left in the camp. However, when the spirit of Moses was distributed to the men at the tabernacles, these two also received it and began to prophesy in the camp. A certain boy reported this matter to Moses. Immediately, Joshua, Moses’ assistant, thought to himself that it was not fitting that the men who did not go to the tabernacle should prophesy. Moses answers him that it was God’s will that these men too should prophesy.
We see the same scenario in the Gospel passage. John reports to Jesus that they prohibited a man they had seen casting demons in His name. Jesus tells them not to prohibit such persons who act in his name because they cannot go against him at the same time.
Jealousy is something that we battle with in our lives everyday. Jealousy in our families where some children become envy of one of them be because he or she gets more attention from their parents. Jealousy in communities where some members envy others because of their success or advantage. Jealousy in places of work where some workers envy others because they do well in their responsibilities. Jealousy in Church where some members envy others because of their charisma in singing, preaching, organizing things, etc.
Jealousy destroys families, communities, churches and even nations. It is something that each one of us has to some degree and that needs the grace of God to fight every day. The best way to fight the spirit of jealousy within us is to focus on our own blessings, successes and advantages and capitalize in them. Jealousy can also be fought by keeping oneself busy with productive activities. Those who spend lot of time idle end up being jealous of those around them who work hard every day. Slowly then start complaining about everything and everyone else except themselves. They spend more time gossiping than working.
Jealousy is very poisonous and can lead to physical and emotional distress for a person feeling it. It puts strains on relationships, distorts communication and the freedom among the people. Jealous people may lead to verbal or even physical abuse both within themselves and towards others. In worst cases, jealousy can lead to depression, violence and even suicide.
Dear friends, I invite us today to introspect and identify our jealousy however minute it may be and treat it before it worsens. Let us ask God to give us the grace of tolerance and ability to focus on our own advantages and blessings.
Have a blessed Sunday.
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

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