Sept. 27, 2015 - 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Jealousy is a feeling of resentment against a rival or against a person enjoying success or advantage.
Or jealousy can be a feeling of unhappiness or even anger caused by the belief that someone has something we want.
Isn’t that what’s happening with the Apostles of Jesus?
The Beloved Apostle John is saying that he tried to cast out a demon in Jesus’ name but he couldn’t. Then he saw someone else trying to do the same thing and maybe even doing it better, so he tried to stop him.
In essence, he was saying to the Lord Jesus, “We are jealous because this other person we don’t know is actually doing a better job at the things you taught us to do. So we are resentful.”
Jesus stuns the Apostles by pointing out that they don’t have a monopoly on the healing power of God. It seems that the Apostles thought they had some power that others didn’t have.
Perhaps they wanted to be honored or made to feel special because of the ability to exercise power over others.
Some priests and bishops today are no different. They believe that their calling to serve Jesus and our church have somehow placed them above others.
But Jesus will not support their position. Jesus will not restrict God’s power. The call from Christ is to serve.
Further, the mission of healing and saving humanity is not the sole responsibility of the Apostles or of today’s clergy.
It is a mission that is entrusted to everyone. And we can’t be jealous of others who exercise this ministry, especially if they do it better than we do.
What we have to focus on is our own hearts and our own actions. We must struggle against this urge to be jealous or resentful.
We must work at giving others the benefit of the doubt. We must learn to assume that God is working in and through others as well as ourselves.
And here’s the Good News: we don’t even have to do something as grand as driving out demons.
Jesus says, “whoever gives a cup of water to drink will not lose a reward.”
Giving a cup of cold water to one who is thirsty is a simple act of kindness. What is needed is less jealousy and resentment and more simple acts of kindness.
We just need to be more charitable to others, more gentle with others, more aware of the needs of others, and more giving of ourselves to others.
When we begin to focus on others, our own jealousies and resentments simply begin to fade away.