Healthy Jealousy

Readings for Thursday January 21, 2010

First Reading: 1 Samuel 18:6-9, 19:1-7
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 56
Gospel: Mark 3:7-12

When David and Saul approached (on David’s return after slaying the Philistine), women came out from each of the cities of Israel to meet King Saul, singing and dancing, with tambourines, joyful songs, and sistrums. The women played and sang: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." Saul was very angry and resentful of the song, for he thought: “They give David ten thousands, but only thousands to me. All that remains for him is the kingship.” And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David. (1 Sam 18:6-9)

In today's first reading we see that due to his trust and faith in God, David has been having some great success. It seems as though he is gaining a lot of fans and admirers ... except for one person. King Saul has become very jealous of David, and in fact his jealously has become very unhealthy, so much so that Saul is now trying to kill David.

Saul does not realize that David's accomplishments and success is not due to him, but rather it is all because of God, the same God that gave Saul his kingship and kingdom. If Saul should be jealous about anything, he should be jealous of David's faith and trust, and he should be trying to model David in this area, that would then be a healthier form of jealously. I think that it is okay to be jealous of something good in that it motivates you to want to strive for that good thing. But if we let ourselves become jealous over things, people, or success; then that is unhealthy because we are then obsessing over worldly things, rather than things of God. I think that this is something that we should all examine in our lives, are we jealous of something that is good or something that is worldly?

If we are suffering from an unhealthy jealousy, then there is one remedy ... Jesus. We see in the gospels today that it is by Jesus that we can be cured of all the illnesses and sins that seem to plague our lives. If we truly want to be rid of any sin or vice in our lives, then we must turn to the master physician. If we are one of those people who tend to get jealous very quickly, then we must ask for the Lord's help in turning our unhealthy jealousy into a healthy one.

I once heard a priest say one time that if we are going to be jealous of someone, be jealous of the saints, because of their faith and holiness. Jealousy is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as we keep it in check and only allow ourselves to be jealous over the things that come from God and things that will get us to heaven. As long as we can do this, then we will have a healthy jealousy.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord thank you for the gifts in our lives and help us to live this life for you. Lord, help us to not give in to jealousy which can lead to envy, but rather help us to seek out the things that are of you and that will lead us closer to you. We pray for all the victims of the earthquake and for the souls of those who have passed away. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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