|05/05/2007 - 4th Week of Easter Saturday
7am – PCPA - Hanceville, AL
The first reading from the Acts of the
Apostles is taken from ch. 13: 44-52. This is a portion of the bigger
passage when Paul and Barnabas preach in Antioch of Pisidia. Just one
verse before today’s passage, St. Luke tells us that: “Many Jews and
devout converts to Judaism end up following Paul and Barnabas.” They end
up following the New Life, the Way of Christ!
The Gospel tells us today: “When the Jews saw the multitudes, they were
filled with jealousy and contradicted what was spoken by Paul and
The Jews were jealous at the success of Paul’s and Barnabas’ preaching!
The Jews were saddened by Paul’s & Barnabas’ success!
That’s the definition of jealous in a nut-shell form:
not happy at someone’s success!
or happy at someone’s failures!
The Catechism states (cf. 2539 - 2540): Jealousy or envy is a capital
sin. Capital sin is basically a sin that leads to other sins. Jealousy
or envy refers to the sadness at the sight of another’s goods and it
refers to the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself, even if it
means acquiring them unjustly. When it wishes grave harm to a neighbor
it is a mortal sin.
St. Augustine saw envy or jealousy as “the diabolical sin” because
from envy born hatred;
from envy born detraction (detraction is basically telling the truth
about someone’s character to another who has no right for the
from envy born calumny (calumny is basically telling lies about
someone’s character to another in order to ruin or destroy that other
person’s character or reputation);
from envy born joy caused by the misfortune of another;
from envy born displeasure caused by the misfortune of another;
from envy born displeasure caused by the misfortune of a neighbor.
Envy represents a form of sadness and because of it, one refused to be
charitable to one’s neighbor. Jealousy or envy is a trace or a
reflection of the Ancient Serpent, Lucifer, who wanted to be like God or
who wanted to be greater than God.
Our holy father St. Francis says: “When a man envies his brother for the
good that God says or does through him, it is like committing a sin of
blasphemy, because he is really envying God, Who is the only source of
We at times, unfortunately, have fallen to be envious or jealous. We at
times have blasphemed God as St. Francis defined envy. We at times have
rejoiced because of someone’s failures or have been saddened because of
someone’s success. We at times have offended God through the sin of envy
or jealousy. We offended Him Who deserves all our love. We scourged,
spit upon Him, and crucified Him through the sin of envy.
The Lord seeks our repentance and our conversion. He has prayed to the
Father on our behalf that we’d be forgiven because we know not what
we’re doing! All we need is to respond to His love; to respond by
confessing our sins in His Tribunal of Mercy
Confession. All we need is to confess and trust in His Mercy and in His
Infinite Goodness of His love for us!
We are not to become discouraged by our wretchedness but to trust that
with God’s grace, we shall eventually overcome all of our wickedness and
The Saints were not always perfect during their lifetime. They struggled
with the similar things we struggled with today (cf. Saintly Solutions
by Esper, 97-102):
St. Augustine wrote in his Confession that when he was a boy, he was
jealous of the attention his younger brother received from his mother,
St. Martha was busy serving in the kitchen. Her sister was listening to
Jesus at His feet. Martha had a touch of envy toward her sister. She was
a little jealous toward Mary because she’s not doing anything to help
her. She was a little jealous toward Mary because she didn’t get to
listen to Jesus as much as Mary was doing.
St. Peter too had fallen into envy. After His resurrection, Our Lord
appeared to some of His Apostles at the Sea of Galilee. And there He
gave Peter the opportunity to erase his triple denial with a triple
profession of his love for Christ.
I had the great blessing and opportunity last week of visiting this very
site in the Holy Land where Jesus commanded Peter to “feed His lambs”
three times. It was a very moving experience for me to read that Gospel
passage for our pilgrim group who came with me at the Church of the
Primacy in Tiberias which is the very site that passage took place
At the end of that passage, Jesus told Peter what kind of death he was
to glorify God. Then Peter was a little jealous toward John that he
complained to Jesus: “What about this man?” Jesus said: “If it is my
will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” Your job is
simply to follow Me.
“St. John Vianney warned that ‘whoever is envious is proud’ — for when
we improperly desire something God has not made available to us, we in
our pride act as if we know better than the Lord. The sins of pride and
envy go hand-in-hand — but, seen positively, this means that our efforts
to remain humble can help us fight against two capital sins at once.
Humility, of course, means seeking God’s glory instead of our own, and
one very practical way of doing this is to rejoice in other people’s
good fortune... (Esper, 99-100).”
He also suggests: “If we are tempted to thoughts of envy against our
neighbor, far from letting him see it by our cold manner, we must go out
of our way to be friendly and do him any service that lies in our power
St. John Chrysostom: “Would you like to see God glorified by you? Then
rejoice in your brother’s progress, and you will immediately give glory
to God. Because His servant could conquer envy by rejoicing in the
merits of others, God will be praised (Esper, 101).”
God of all generosity, Source of every blessing and gift: help us
conquer the tendency to envy the good fortune of others. Remove this
vice that is rooted deeply within us, and replace it with a genuine
satisfaction over the success of those around us. May we always remember
that, in loving You, we are rich beyond all measure; may we always trust
that You will provide us with everything we need. Please bless all those
who, at any time and in any way, have been the victims of our envy and
displeasure, and please give us a proper spirit of gratitude for all
Your gifts. May Your name be praised forever and ever. Amen (Esper,