Study: Reflect on a situation where you have experienced either jealousy or greed. How did you move past it? (HAVE you moved past it?)
Pray: Ask the Lord for the grace to confront these vices and replace them with the Love, Joy, and Peace of Christ.
Serve: Is there something that you can do to help break the cycle of greed or jealousy in your life today? How can your life show others a better way to live?
Whew! While every week the Scripture readings give us plenty to ponder about, we are confronted this week with some particularly nasty (but common) elements that can surface in the human heart:
- Jealousy – to be worried someone will take what we already have
- Greed – an excessive desire to have more than what is appropriate, right or just
We know that Joshua and John are great figures in the history of our faith. Joshua, as the successor of Moses, will lead the people as they claim their space in the Promised Land after their enslavement in Egypt. He is God-fearing and righteous. John is a close companion of the Lord, the brother of James, who has been personally called by Jesus to follow and be “a fisher of men.”
Empowered by God with particular graces, both are chosen for special work of leadership, yet they make the common (and altogether too human) mistake of getting their noses bent out of joint because great things are happening of which they are not a part. Sound familiar?
Ever had a moment when you were upset because you were afraid that someone was moving in on your turf? Taking over a work, task, ministry, or role that was yours? While it’s true that there are times when people unfairly gobble up the work of others, it is also true that sometimes we are at fault because our expectations are too limited: we have assumed that the work, task, ministry, or role was ONLY ours to control. We can cultivate assumptions that opportunities are strictly limited – that there is no room to share with others – and that we alone are allowed or expected to act.
Yet this is not how the Lord works! Both Jesus and Moses welcome others to participate in the Good News – to prophesy, to drive out evil, to bring life and hope. Simply put, there is room for others to help, for the obvious reason that the needs of the world are vast. A question then arises: Do we share? Do we welcome and encourage others to join us in God’s work?
James hits us over the head with greed – an inappropriate hunger for more (often wealth) that shows no regard for the needs and rights of others. Greed (one of the 7 Deadly Sins) is one of those ugly vices that we always despise in others and often overlook in ourselves. And while an insatiable desire for money is an easy target, remember that greed can also appear in little ways:
- a little more food
- a little more praise
- a little more attention
- a little more respect
When greed takes over we can lose our sense of balance and perspective. People can get lost as we place a higher value on the thing we greedily seek. The sad thing is, we might get what we desire, but we can lose that which is most important: the opportunity to love and be loved by the people in our lives.
We know jealousy and greed first hand: these are real vices that can fester in our souls. The question today…how will we respond to their presence? Jesus invites us in to the Gospel today to pluck them out! They have no place in Heaven, and here on earth they are obstacles that keep us from the Lord and one another.