ENVY DEVOURS US

March 18, 2022 – Friday of the Second Week of Lent

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/031822.cfm)

We must be familiar with rivalry among siblings. To us children, there would be some occasions where we felt that we are more loved by our parents than the rest of our siblings. Or it could be the other way around, we could also feel that we are receiving lesser love and attention from our parents. This happens when we are being compared from our sibling who excels in his/her studies, who is more talented and more responsible than us. This can really be a pain. A deep wound could sometimes be created deep within our heart because of constant comparison that we receive at home. This is also how relationships among our siblings are being stretched until a gap of indifference and mutual bitterness arise. Hatred, even, begins to boil within us.

In the Book of Genesis, we were told that “Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age.” These are the first words from the first reading today. Yet, that love of Israel towards his youngest son, became the reason for deep envy of his other sons.

That envy deep within the hearts of Joseph’s brothers must have come from their belief that their brother did not deserve such love. In that culture before, the youngest was considered to be the least and the less important. The brothers must have claimed that they deserved more than him. This was how their envy consumed them to the point that their thoughts and actions became violent and vicious against their youngest brother.

Though Reuben and Judah tried to save the life of their brother, yet, not one of them stoop up and confronted the evil that they were planning. They could not because they were into it already.

This tells us that when we become envious of others, we will tend to get aggressively what we wanted. Our selfish ambition and intentions will lead us to corrupt and evil practices, such as in deceiving and manipulating others. 

Such attitude only portrays a self-image that is dominating, powerful and that must be considered a master who is 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 deep within, insecure and filled with bitterness.

This is what we have heard also from the Gospel. The parable was not actually about labor issues but about the bitterness and aggression showed by the tenants in the parable against the servants and to the son of the landowner. The tenants, who were actually the chief priests and Pharisees, have become self-entitled and believed that they were the only deserving people of God’s salvation. Their hearts that have become envious, bitter and ambitious also became unwelcoming, greedy and vicious.

Like the brothers of Joseph, they too began to plan evil things against Jesus. They wanted to arrest him and kill him. And indeed, this happened to Jesus. But then, their evil thoughts and evil plans cannot and will not defeat God’s power to bring salvation and freedom to all.

As Joseph also became the savior of his own brothers during the great drought and famine, Jesus also through his resurrection proved that evil has no match with the wonder of what love can do.

Thus, as we continue to journey in this Season of Lent, let our hearts be overwhelmed, not by our envy towards others, but by our love and affection towards one another. May we be able to repair any gap of indifference and heal any mutual bitterness with our siblings and with our friends. Hinaut pa.

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