YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 26TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: LIVING ABOVE JEALOUSY AND ENVY
BY: Fr. Johnbosco Obika
MK 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
Jealousy in one hand is a psychological fear of losing what one has to another. For example, Jane is talented in music. She sings well. But she develops jealousy seeing Kate being applauded by the audience after a wonderful rendition. She becomes gauche and insecure; her popularity is threatened. Envy, on the other hand, is an inordinate desire to acquire a quality or possession belonging to another who may be judged to be progressive. In the first reading and the gospel of today, we see jealousy and envy raising their ugly heads among those expected to show good example: Joshua, a disciple of Moses and John, a disciple of Jesus.
In the first reading (Numbers 11:25-29), God generously took some of the spirit that was in Moses and put it on the seventy elders and they prophesied. Eldad and Meldad, even though they were far away from the camp, also received the spirit and they also prophesied. Joshua, the servant of Moses, who did not receive the spirit was so envious and persuaded Moses to stop them. That is envy. In the first part of today’s gospel (Mark 9:38-), John complained to Jesus that a man who do not belong to their group was sighted casting out Devils in Jesus’s name. That is jealousy. Neither Joshua nor John did understand the way of God, that no one or entity has the monopoly of God and his gifts. The response of Moses and Jesus are strong evidence that God’s ways are not our ways neither his thoughts our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). In the 2nd reading too, St. James condemned those who by their greed, jealousy and envy acquire riches and oppress the poor.
Jealousy and envy fuel warfare while appreciation of the good in others and team spirit fuel welfare. Tale bearing, sycophancy, gossip and rivalry are the sons and daughters that result from the marriage of jealousy and envy. There are many reasons why people are jealous and envious. First, jealousy and envy arise from greed and insatiability. There is no one who has not been blessed by God in a unique way. The problem is that we often think the other has more than we have and do better than we do. Unless we begin to look inside us to see how we are blessed in many great ways we will continue to feel empty, going out to acquire what the other has. Carl Jung wrote: “Who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakens”.
Another reason why jealousy and envy are eating up a lot of people today is insecurity. Some people think that their values may diminish when others are doing it better than them. The truth is that if other people are doing better than we do, it offers us an opportunity to seat up and upgrade. It does not diminish value, rather it challenges us to do better without being in unhealthy competition. People also resort to jealousy and envy due to a psychological crisis of inferiority complex. Those who often feel jealous and envious of others are mostly people who have low self esteem.
Today, let us learn from God. He was so generous as to distribute his gifts and spirit among us to work for common good. Let us learn from Jesus Christ. His appointment and commissioning of those who work in his name for the salvation of all was not lopsided and prejudiced as men do. Let us learn from Moses. He did not complain or prevent God from taking some of the spirit in him to bless others. He rather wished that all men in Israel would be prophets.
Today, we are challenged to answer these personal questions: If you are blessed with intelligence, would you wish everyone to be intelligent? If you are rich, would you wish that all around you become rich? If you are a political leader, would you wish your counterpart with different political affiliation and ideology succeed? In our families, among our business associates and colleagues, what is our attitude towards those who are on the road to success? If we team up together, productivity will be maximized, love will increase, the world will be a better place. Peace be with you.
HAPPY SUNDAY. FR JOHNBOSCO LOVES YOU.