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Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

Updated on January 27, 2020

Our envy always lasts longer than the happiness of those we envy. The envious die not once, but as oft as the envied win applause. It is never wise to seek or wish for another's misfortune. If malice or envy were tangible and had a shape, it would be the shape of a boomerang.” ~ Franois de la Rochefoucauld

Jealousy rears it’s rather ugly head in today’s 1st Reading (1 Samuel 18:6-8; 19:1-7) as we look in on the metaphorically green-eyed Saul, resentful over the adoration and praise being heaped upon David on the heels of his shocking victory over the mighty Goliath. So enraged with envy is Saul that he begins to plot David’s demise, which caught the attention of Saul’s son Jonathan, whom we are told had grown to admire David. In addition to informing David of Saul’s plot, Jonathan approaches his father and begs him not to shed the blood of this otherwise innocent returning hero. Cooler heads indeed prevail and tragedy is avoided.

Of this deadly sin, William Hazlitt once said that “Envy is a littleness of soul, which cannot see beyond a certain point, and if it does not occupy the whole space, feels itself excluded.” It took the wisdom of a young boy to show this to his father, a King, and it’s certainly a great reminder for us as well. In so many ways, envy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings while ignoring your own. Or as the old Spanish Proverb says, “Envy is thin because it bites, but never eats.” We must work diligently to cleanse ourselves of every remnant of this affront to God and his immeasurable generosity.

In today’s Gospel (Mark 3:7–12) we continue to drill down deeper into the very prime of Jesus’ life and ministry, where healing takes center stage. Many were following him from Galilee and Judea, not to mention Jerusalem, Idumea, from far beyond the Jordan and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. The throngs grew so large that Jesus instructed his disciples to prepare a boat for him so that they would not be crushed by the onslaught of those looking for healing. Even those under the possession of unclean spirits, those possessed by Satan himself, cried out in unison “You are the Son of God.” The truth was written even upon the tormented hearts of these poor wayward souls.

The world hungers today for the presence of God every bit as much as it did when Jesus walked the Earth. Sadly, many do not recognize this inexplicable yearning, instead mistaking it for something else, oftentimes something harmful to our health or detrimental to our peace of mind.

We as Christ’s followers must set the record straight, leading others to Jesus through our gentle but convincing words, through our kind and selfless actions. You can leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.

“In God I trust, I shall not fear” proclaims today’s Responsorial Psalm, going on to say “my wanderings you have counted; my tears are stored in your flask; are they not recorded in your book? Then do my enemies turn back, when I call upon you. Now I know that God is with me. In God, in whose promise I glory, in God I trust without fear; what can flesh do against me?”

If we were to believe and live that message and proclaim it to others, Jesus would most certainly need a bigger boat. And not because he’s envious of the one moored in the harbor slip next to him.

With today being the Feast Day of Saint Vincent of Saragossa, a great Deacon and Martyr of our Church, I’d like to close with a prayer seeking his intercession.

“Glorious St Vincent, help me to put all my trust in my Redeemer so that I may overcome all adversity. Pray for me, who am so doubtful; pray for me, that finally I may receive the consolations and the succour of Heaven in all my necessities and afflictions. May the Holy Spirit, Instructor and Consoler of the faithful, help me to faithfully apply Christ’s message in my life in thought, word and deed.” ~ Amen

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