Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
In the Gospel, John proclaims the great truth of our salvation. God the Father did not abandon man to death after his sin, but sent his only-begotten Son so that those who believe in him might have eternal life.
John contrasts two responses to Jesus. There are those who prefer darkness and hate the light of Christ. They do evil, hoping that the darkness hides their deeds. But their are also those who live the truth that comes from the light of Christ. They do good works, and they know that everything they do is seen by God.
These two responses to Christ are on display in the first reading. The high-priest and the Sadducees refuse to accept the light. They fall into the sin of religious envy. The Sadducees are envious of great following the Apostles are gathering because of the signs and wonders they do in the name of Jesus Christ. Their envy leads them to persecute the Apostles and throw them in jail.
Throughout the Bible, we see that this type of envy is a deadly sin (Mark 7:22; Romans 1:29; Galatians 5:21). Cain was envious of his brother Abel, whose sacrifice was pleasing to God, and rose up against him and killed him (Genesis 4:4-8). The brothers of Joseph became envious of him (Acts 7:9) and sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:11). Saul is envious of David and tries to kill him (1 Samuel 18:8-16). The Book of Wisdom teaches that: “through the devil’s envy death entered the world” (2:24). Jesus himself knew that he was delivered up out of envy (Matthew 27:18; Mark 15:10). The tenth commandment requires that envy be banished from the human heart. Envy, the Catechism teaches, is a form of sadness at the sight of another’s goods and an immoderate desire to have them for oneself; it is a refusal of charity and often comes from pride. Christians combat envy through good-will, humility and abandonment to the providence of God (CCC, 2554).
The Apostles, unlike the Sadducees, trust in the Lord and live in the truth. They know that the angel of the Lord delivers those who fear the Lord. They are blessed because they take refuge in the Lord. They seek the Lord and he delivers them. The angel of the Lord commands them to continue preaching in the temple about the new life they have received through Jesus Christ. This new life is the beginning of eternal life and is lived in the light of Christ. We turn from envy through grace and the desire for God as our supreme good. We are satisfied, not by material possessions or natural talents, but by God.
Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at [email protected].