Today’s readings feature two stories of envy, one real, the other a parable. In the first reading from Genesis 27 we see the story of Joseph. His father, Israel “loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age.” Naturally, the brothers didn’t much like this. They were filled with envy, so they plotted to kill him.
In the Gospel reading from Matthew 21, Jesus tells a parable about a landowner and his tenants. The landowner sends his servants to obtain his produce, but the tenants beat and killed them. So the landowner sent his son, thinking they would respect him. But they killed him as well.
Envy is listed as one of the seven deadly sins. (I have a chapter on Envy and the other deadly sins in A Minute in the Church: Back to the Basics.) It is jealousy on steroids, which incites one to evil action. Envy is one of the opposites of love. If we love someone, we are happy for their successes. But envy can cause us to be bitter and angry and lash out in inappropriate ways. Search your heart for envy today, and replace it with love and good will.
Father, forgive us for our envy. May we be truly happy for others out of a pure love for them. Amen.
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