26 September, Sunday — Jealousy

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Num 11:25-29
Jas 5:1-6

Mk 9:38-43,45,47-48

“Anyone who is not against us is for us.”

There is a common theme in today’s First Reading and Gospel. In the First Reading, Moses was asked to stop two young men from prophesying when they were not the ‘chosen’ ones like the elders. In the Gospel, the disciples tried to stop a man from casting out demons in the name of Jesus. Both scenarios stem from people around Jesus and Moses wanting to protect their names, their works and perhaps their rights.

Perhaps it was out of protection of their masters and not wanting their reputation tarnished. Or perhaps they resented anyone who was not one of them garnering attention, that they deemed should be reserved for their master and, by association, themselves. This feeling of resentment or jealousy is nothing new. It existed then, exists now and probably will exist in the future of our natural lives.

If we look closely, we see that both the disciples and Joshua wanted to stop someone from doing good, from doing God’s work, simply because they were strangers and did not belong to the close-knit group. How often do we, in our daily lives, either privately or publicly, discredit someone and their works because we feel that they are intruding on our domain? How often do we feel resentment towards those who ‘steal’ the limelight from us?

Some years ago, I was fairly active in various fund-raising committees in a Catholic school. As parent volunteers, we all work towards the goal to raise funds for the school and our children. Somewhere along the line, the original intention of doing something positive or good turned into a competition of sorts. The different fund-raising events were competing with each other for advertising space, notification time, the amount of funds raised, etc. Some committee members began to identify the events with their own reputation and status; they all forgot that the true reason behind all the efforts was for our children, and improving their learning experience within the school.    

Let us always remember that whatever good is done, particularly those done in the name of our Lord, that we should avoid jealousy and celebrate the fact that someone took the initiative to do what is necessary. You heard it said before, “It’s not about us”. It truly isn’t. Let’s not forget that the good that we do or others do, is not for our glory but for the glory of God.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to recognize the times when we are jealous, and grant us the grace to overcome this ugly sin. Help us to celebrate anyone who does good work, regardless of whether they are within our intimate circles.  

Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we thank you for giving Your Word, and for guiding us through the many pitfalls of life.

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