Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
In the first reading from Numbers and the Gospel of Mark jealousy rears its ugly head.
The Lord shares some of the spirit that was on Moses with seventy-two of the elders of the community. Two who were not present also receive the same spirit. Immediately it is reported that these two are able to prophesy just like the seventy-two and Moses. Moses responds with, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets! Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!”
In the gospel, John reports to Jesus that someone who is not one of obvious disciples is casting out demons in his name. Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”
A dictionary definition of jealousy describes it as feeling resentment, bitterness, or hostility toward someone because they have something that you don’t. Have there been times in your life when you experienced any of these feelings? It’s not unusual that we may see something that another person has that looks good to us and we may wish we had that object, position or job, etc. There is nothing wrong with this. It becomes problematic when we long deeply for the object and then resent the other person for what she or he has.
We should always remember that as God’s children we are given gifts or talents to use to the best of our ability. Those gifts should not be measured against the gifts or talents of others. We never should use our gifts or talents to denigrate or hurt someone else in any way. The good use of our own gifts is a way to glorify God and not ourselves.
The Spirit of God is free to move as the Spirit wishes so Jesus goes on to tell us that if our feet take us where we should not go, cut them off. In other words, if the places and events we attend lead us to sin, we should stop attending them. There are times when what we see is not helping us to be good so we are to pluck out our eyes. In other words, we should eliminate the sight of things that tempt us to do wrong, to be less than we are created to be. The bottom line is whether we are content with who we really are at our deepest core!
Just remember that all of our senses, talents and gifts, not our neighbors’, are meant to glorify God.
How are your longings good for your spiritual self rather than causing jealousy over what someone else has?
How well do you use your gifts and talents to glorify God?