1 Samuel 18:6-9; 19:1-7
In today’s first reading from 1 Samuel, the women of Israel sing with joy about the triumph over the Philistines, but their song gives credit to David for killing more of the enemy than the king, Saul. And the Scriptures tell us that Saul becomes jealous of David, to the point of trying to kill him. As we read more and more of what happens to Saul and David, it seems that this jealousy is Saul’s undoing.
It can be very easy for jealousy to take hold of us. We can be jealous that others have, or seem to have, things or attributes that we don’t have. We can carry resentment against those people who seem to have more, or we can beat ourselves up for not having what they have.
All this jealousy does, though, is blind us to what we do have. It keeps us from seeing the many ways that God has blessed us. Whatever our economic status may be, neither nothing nor no one can take away the fact of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ! Nothing can take away Jesus’ gift of His very self poured out for us. We see Jesus’ generosity in our Gospel reading, as the crowds press in on Him to be healed.
Reflecting on the love of Jesus can help us get out of jealousy. First, we can be grateful for all that Jesus has done for us, and know that what He has done for us is not less than what he has done for others. Second, we can get outside of ourselves and be generous to others. Spending time helping others is a better way to live than grousing about what we don’t have. This doesn’t mean that we stop striving for justice and equality. Instead, we open ourselves to God’s love guiding us in how we work for peace and justice.
Fr. Phil Paxton, C.P. is on staff at St. Paul of the Cross Retreat and Conference Center, Detroit, Michigan.