Two words in popular culture are ‘jealousy’ and ‘envy’. Behaviour out of envy or jealousy, if not corrected can leave devastating scars on human relationships. It is natural for people to feel envious and jealous from time to time. However, it is not the feeling of jealousy or envy that causes harm but a person’s behaviour as a result of feeling such. There is a difference between envy and jealousy. An envious person wants something that someone else possesses. Jealousy relates to feelings in human relationships. Envy relates to someone’s achievement or possessions. Some feelings associated with jealousy and envy include resentment, feeling threatened, desire for revenge and possession, suspicion or anger. Today’s Scripture deals with envy.
Films and books sometimes reveal characters who are envious or jealous. Can you think of any?
We need to acknowledge envy and jealousy in our daily lives and learn how to deal appropriately with them. Let us always be thankful for what we have ourselves, be satisfied, and acknowledge the unique giftedness of other people.
The reading proclaimed at Mass today (Gen 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28) reveals how envious Joseph’s brothers were of him. Joseph’s Dad had a special coat made for him with long sleeves. The brothers hated Joseph because their Dad loved Joseph more than them. They were envious of him. They made a plot to kill Joseph. One of the brothers Reuben tried to save him from the violent brothers who wanted to kill him. The brothers listened to Reuben, as far as there was no blood shed. However, they seized Joseph, took off his coat and threw him into an empty well. They decided not to kill Joseph but sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver pieces. They took Joseph to Egypt. The brothers acted out of their envy by plotting to kill Joseph.
The Gospel (Mt 21:33-43. 45-46) proclaims a parable that Jesus told the chief priests and the elders of the people. He told them how the envious nature of the tenants caused them to kill the landowner’s son so they could seize his inheritance. When Jesus told this parable, the chief priests and scribes wanted to kill him. Jesus knew this is what they wanted to do with him. However, they were afraid because the crowds who were in their midst, knew that Jesus was a prophet.
Both these stories relate to Jesus’ life. Jesus’ enemies sold him for a few pieces of silver and sent him to his death. God’s people reflect on Jesus’ imminent death during the Lenten season as they prepare for the events of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
How can a person deal with jealousy or envy? A person can reflect on their own gifts and talents and say thanks to God for them. They can pray with gratitude like Mary, Mother of God for the good things that God gives them. God is generous and loves each person unconditionally. The psalmist advises God’s people to trust always in God. Throughout the Bible, we read about many people who placed their trust in God. Can you think of any of those people?
When we act from an envious or jealous nature, we can pray to God and ask God’s mercy. Then we can say sorry for hurting feelings, show kindness to others and ourselves. We can also forgive those who hurt us.
Today the Church celebrates the feast of St Kieran. He was born in Cape Clear, Co Cork. He travelled to the Continent where he received the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Orders. He returned to his father’s territory in Ossory, where he lived as a hermit. Later some disciples joined him and Saigir became a well-known monastery.
VERITAS publications provide free online resources linked with these themes of gratitude and trust. Stories, prayers and psalms are available in the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé e-book.
- Our Father/An Phaidir
- Lamb of God/A Uain Dé
- A Thiarna, déan trócaire. A Chríost déan trócaire.
- Pray to St Kieran by saying, St Kieran, pray for us.
- From your Bible you can read verses from the story of Joseph in Genesis (Gen 37: 3-4, 12-13, 17-28).
- The Parable of the Tenants (Mt 21: 33-43, 45-46).
- Today you might watch the musical ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat.’
- Talk to someone in your family today about things for which you are thankful.
Sr Anne Neylon