Faith Seeking Understanding - October 7th
No False Pretenses

The Green Eyed Monster Which Mocks the Meat It Feeds On

Lectionary Readings 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Green connotes many good things like spring, hope, new growth, youth, life, vitality, ordinary time, but since the time of Shakespeare, also the especially negative emotions - jealousy and envy.

The green of jealousy or envy is thought to derive from the idea that those who harbor such emotions have too much bile, and so a sickly pale. Envy is the desire for something someone else has, while jealousy is the fear that someone or something we have will be taken away if we share.

Jesus challenges both emotions, but in today's gospel and in the Hebrew Scripture reading from Numbers, jealousy takes the limelight. 

The anointed 72 who resent the prophesizing of the absent-from-the-commissioning-meeting-without-explanation Eldad and Medad are chastized for their jealousy by Moses; Jesus likewise challenges the disciples who resent that outsiders are using Jesus' name to work exorcisms.

All of us tend to create "in" groups and "out" groups. Not everyone is a member of my family, or my neighborhood, not everyone lives in Rumson, not everyone is Catholic, not everyone is my friend, not everyone is my race, not everyone suits my personality. It natural for us to make distinctions, but sinful to deny someone their human dignity because of an arbitrary decision on our part. And we diminish our enjoyment of whatever we have by jealous fear.

How can I open a circle I belong to, how can I be less afraid I will lose by sharing, less jealous?