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Does that person bother you because deep down you’re jealous? Pope calls us to reflect


Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 01/25/20

Pope Francis warns that we have conversations within our own selves that lead us to imagine things that aren't there

Jealousy and envy are “seeds of war,” warned Pope Francis during a homily at Casa Santa Marta. Drawing from the reading of Mass that recounts how Saul was ready to kill David because of his jealousy, the Holy Father said that we have to be careful because jealousy leads us to imagine wrongdoing where there is none.

We have to be attentive because it is a worm that creeps into all of our hearts — all of us! — and leads us to misjudge people, because deep down there’s a competition: He has something that I don’t. And thus the competition begins. It leads us to reject people, it leads us to war — a war in our house, in our neighborhood, in our workplace. But at the start is the seed of war: envy and jealousy.

“Jealousies are criminals,” said Pope Francis, they are “always trying to kill.” And to those who say “yes, I’m jealous… but I’m not a murderer,” the Holy Father answered: Not yet. “But if you continue it can end badly,” he said, recalling that there’s the type of killing that happens with “the tongue, with slander.”

Jealousy leads us to see things that aren’t there, to attribute to someone attitudes or intentions that don’t exist. Those who are jealous, said the pope, are “incapable of seeing reality,” and only something very clear can open their eyes. So in Saul’s mind, “jealousy led him to believe that David was a murderer, an enemy.”

Let each of us think: Why can I not stand that person? Why do I not even want to see that other person? Each one of us should ask why. Many times, we look for the reason and discover that it’s our own imagination. Imaginations, that arise out of an interior dialogue.

When God gives us the grace to see the reality of the situation, He invites us to look at ourselves, said the pope. We must “protect our hearts from this illness, from this conversation with oneself.”

We must “be careful” of this “worm” that enters each one of us, he said, adding that “when we feel this distaste for someone, we must ask ourselves why.”

Finally Pope Francis prayed to the Lord that we may have the grace of having a transparent heart – a friendly one, he added, that “seeks only justice” and peace.

Pope Francis
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