January 23, 2020 – Thursday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/012320.cfm
When I was younger I felt that I was more deserving of more love and praise from my parents than my younger brother who would always fail in his exams. When our parents give us the same amount of allowance I would complain that I did better in my exams. I demanded that I should have more and he should have less because I studied well than him.
I would feel jealous every time our parents would give more attention to him than to me. And thus, I sought more praises, attention and rewards from my parents through my good works at school but looking down and bullying my younger brother.
This tendency to look great and accumulate more praises and rewards, only poisons our hearts and relationships. It makes our heart unwelcoming to others whom we think are lesser than us.
St. James said in his letter said that “where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice (James 3:16).” This tells us that when we become jealous of others, we will tend to get aggressively what we wanted. Our selfish ambition will make us resort to corrupt practices, such as in deceiving and manipulating others.
This attitude portrays a self-image that is dominating, powerful and that must be considered master and above everybody else. However, this attitude would consider others as lesser and not important. It is in fact a boastful self, arrogant and vain, but insecure deep within. Indeed, jealousy poisons our hearts and this was the case of King Saul.
He became insecure and felt jealous of the young David. As King he believed that the people should give more praises to him and not to David, who had become a hero by defeating Goliath and the Philistines.
His sense of self-entitlement seemed to have clouded his heart and mind. Indeed, as king, he felt that the people should give more credit to him. By being jealous of the achievement of David, he felt threatened to the point of planning to kill an innocent boy.
This tells us that when a powerful person becomes jealous and insecure, and driven by a sense of entitlement, the person can be very dangerous. This person will dominate and manipulate and even do things aggressively just to satisfy his/her insecurity.
What Jesus is inviting us today is that we come to him with all our insecurities. Rather than looking and searching for our self-satisfaction from other things, let us focus our eyes and attention to Jesus.
This is what we have heard from the Gospel. People from many places followed Jesus because they have recognized that it would only be Jesus who can satisfy their hunger and thirst for love and acceptance, can heal their sickness, can reconcile them with God and can grant freedom from their sins. With Jesus they have become secured.
Let us be secured then with Jesus and find assurance in his presence. Let us not to be jealous of what others have achieved but to be more confident of God’s presence in us. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR