Dear Parish Family,
The parable of the generous landowner in this Sunday’s Gospel (Matt. 20:1-16a) highlights both the mercy of God and the pitfall of envy. Workers hired later in the day are paid the same wage as those hired earlier in the day. Those who worked all day were envious of the land-owner’s generosity. Still, it was his money and he was free to do with it what he wished.
Likewise, our Lord will refuse no one who comes to him seeks to follow him. That journey of faith may have begun early in life. That journey of faith may not have begun until later. Down through the centuries, the grace and mercy of God has transformed lives among the young and old alike. Our Lord will never be outdone in generosity.
By contrast, envy is one of the capital sins. The others are pride, avarice, anger, lust, gluttony and sloth (or acedia, spiritual boredom). Human vices are found in connection with these sins. Vices are negative habits that deaden and dull the conscience, incline a person to evil and habitually prepare him for sin (CCC #1865-1867).
Envy is sadness and annoyance at the sight of another’s well-being and the desire to acquire unjustly what others have. Anyone who wishes another person ill commits a serious sin. How do we fight it? Envy can be diminished when we try to rejoice more and more in the accomplishments and gifts of others. We need to believe in God’s benevolent providence for ourselves as well. When we set our hearts on true wealth, our desire for earthly goods and accolades recedes into the distance (CCC #2538-2540, 2553-2554).
The Tenth Commandment tells us, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.” St. Basil the Great (ca.330-379) reminds that “As rust consumes iron, so envy consumes the soul that is afflicted by it (YouCat,p.254).”
Our Lord has blessed each of us in many ways. May we rejoice in the diversity of gifts our Lord has showered upon His Church.
God bless you.
Fr. Dan Redmond