In today's readings we see the results of that jealousy being played out before our eyes. First with Joseph being sold into slavery by his own family, then with Jesus predicting his own death at the hands of the people. The parable shows the son being killed for his inheritance, trying to take the kingdom by force. How often we do that don't we? Decide we know better than the Holy Spirit and the Church established and guided by Him. "We should do it this way!" "It's not fair." "Times have changed, so should we!" Just this morning I read a news article about the president of a college tearing into one of the colleges own alumni in a very demeaning and derogatory fashion. Why do we do that? Just like the Pharisees often we don't repent of our own jealousy but instead scheme and plot our way out of it.
Just so with Lent isn't it? We try to find ways to get around the small amount of fasting and abstinence asked of us by the church. We humans don't like discipline at all. Just a few Friday's out of the year and we look for ways around them, especially when it comes to a day like Saint Patrick's day. Now don't get me wrong, I understand. It's a celebration day, a Feast day.. but so is Sunday, right? The problem is we don't just go back to our normal habits on those days, we tend to go overboard. Using the day as an excuse to eat way to much, drink too much, and party! When in reality what we should be focusing on is not what is the bare minimum I can do.. but realizing we are in the vineyard of the Lord.. the Church with it's hedge around it, and it's towers and wine press.. and the son has come to be with us... do we return to the Landowner or do we throw the Son out?
The virtue to combat envy is kindness. It seems so simple doesn't it? I am reminded of a simple little meme on the internet where a boy is looking into another boys bowl and complaining because he doesn't have as much. His father takes him to the side and says "The only time you should be looking in someone else's bowl is to make sure they have enough." Last night I came across an article where refugees from Africa were only being fed 850 calories a day. I sometimes have that much (or twice as much) for breakfast. Oh how many of those calories do I wear around my waist while men, women and children starve. Lord forgive me! That's why we need that discipline... that Lenten trio of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. To bring us back to serving Christ in the least of these...
His servant and yours,
"He must increase, I must decrease."
A reflection on the readings for Friday of the Second Week of Lent.