Jealousy and envy are the gateways to bitterness and gossip that sow division within the Christian community. This was the central point of Pope Francis’ homily today at Casa Santa Marta
The Holy Father drew his reflection from the first reading, which spoke on Saul’s jealousy of David. The joy of victory was transformed into sadness and jealousy after David receives praise for his victory over the Philistines.
That jealousy that overcomes Saul, the Pope said, is the same “worm of jealousy and envy” that took over Cain. And just like Cain, Saul decides to kill David.
“Saul, instead of praising God as the women of Israel did for this victory, prefers to close in himself, in regret and to cook his feelings in the broth of bitterness,” the Holy Father said.
“Jealousy leads to murder. Envy leads to murder. It was this door, the door of envy, through which the devil entered the world. The Bible says: ‘Through the envy of the devil, evil entered the world.’ Jealousy and envy open the doors to all evil things. It also divides the community. A Christian community, when some of its members suffers, from envy, jealousy, it ends up divided: one against the other. This is a powerful poison. It is a poison that we find in the first pages of the Bible with Cain.”
The Holy Father went on to say that there are two distinct reactions in a person struck with jealousy and envy: bitterness and gossip. A bitter person, he said, does not know joy, only concerned with what they do not have. The second attitude, gossip, leads one to debase others because “they cannot tolerate that anyone has anything.”
“Gossip divides the community, they destroy the community. They are the weapons of the devil,” the Pope stressed.
“A person that is under the influence of envy and jealousy kills, as the Apostle John says: ‘He who hates his brother is a murderer. An envious person, a jealous person, begins to hate his brother.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis prayed that this seed of jealousy mmay not be sown in Christian communities.
“It is a great grace, the grace to not fall in sadness, in being resentful, in jealousy and in envy,” the Pope said.