Deacon Stu Dobson’s Homily – 3-18-22
Friday, 2nd week of Lent, March 18, 2022
Gn 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17-28a; Ps105:16-21; Mt 21:33-43,45-46
We have all seen those people that seem to believe they are better than ourselves. They lord their wealth, title, or position over us and make us feel unworthy. Today we have two stories that emulate those people, but they do it in different ways. In the first reading, we have Joseph’s brothers envious of their younger brother’s relationship with their father. Although their younger brother did nothing to receive this hatred from his older brothers, they hated him nonetheless. Just because their father liked him the best and provided many things for him. They not only had envy for their younger brother, they held their position in the family over him. A double whammy, of envy and hate.
In the Gospel we have ungrateful workers envious of the landowner. So much so they seized and killed all the servants he sent, even the owner’s own son. Those servants and his son did nothing other than be in charge of the workers. But the workers were so filled with hate and envy, they could not see past it and killed them, despite them not doing anything. Envy and hate, two traits that are so terrible they take over our entire being.
Jesus tells this story, or parable, so the Pharisees could see themselves in the story. Jesus had done nothing wrong, yet the chief priests and Pharisees hated him so much, they wanted him dead. They could not see past the envy and hate of Jesus to see who He really was, even when Jesus tries to tell them. He even warns them, because of their hatred and envy, that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from them.
So what is the message for us? Basically, who are we so envious of that we have utter hate for them? Are we so blind that we cannot see past who they are? Is that envy turning to hate and causing us to sin? The other day, we were asked to love our enemies and I add, those we are envious of. A hard task indeed, but if we are so filled with hate and envy, we are no better than them. The passage ended with “be perfect like Jesus.” To be perfect like Jesus is to love our enemies and have no hate or envy toward others. I am not sure why we carry envy and hate around in us. Maybe it is because we cannot see what we really have, what each of us is given by God. We probably do not need anything more and definitely do not need to be envious of those who have more. There is a prayer that goes like this, “Lord, give me what I deserve, not what I want.” It is a simple prayer, but it takes the focus off our envious feelings and focuses on what we really deserve and need. If we truly believe that God will provide us all, we will not want for anything more. By focusing on and being thankful for what God gives us, all that envy and hate we have will turn to love. By turning to love, we can then begin to become more perfect like Jesus.