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Saturday, January 24, 1998

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St. Francis de Sales

2 Samuel 1:1-4, 11-12, 19, 23-27
Psalm 80
Mark 3:20-21

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masquerading jealousy?

"When His family heard of this they came to take charge of Him, saying, 'He is out of His mind.' " —Mark 3:21

Jesus' relatives said He was crazy (Mk 3:21). They said this after He had become so popular that the crowds surrounding Him made it impossible to get food to Him. Were Jesus' relatives concerned about Him getting proper nutrition? Or were they jealous of His popularity?

The religious leaders of Jesus' day said Jesus was worse than crazy. They accused Him of being demon-possessed. They "asserted, 'He is possessed by Beelzebul,' and 'He expels demons with the help of the prince of demons' " (Mk 3:22). Why did the religious leaders make these contradictory charges? Were they concerned about Jesus' pastoral practice or His theology of demons? Or were they jealous?

Jealousy often masquerades as concern for others' physical, pastoral, or theological well-being. What's behind your criticism of the more popular members of your family, more prominent parishioners, or more successful co-workers? Are you truly concerned about others? Or are your motives selfishness and jealousy?

When Joshua suddenly had pastoral problems with two people's use of prophecy, Moses asked him: "Are you jealous for my sake?" (Nm 11:29) The writer of the book of Wisdom made this commitment: "Neither shall I admit consuming jealousy to my company, because that can have no fellowship with Wisdom" (Wis 6:23). When John the Baptizer was tempted to become jealous of Jesus, John resisted the temptation and proclaimed: "He (Jesus) must increase, while I must decrease" (Jn 3:30). Repent of jealousy now!

Prayer:  Father, may I trust You so deeply and be so secure in Your love that I will not compare myself with others and become jealous.

Promise:  "David seized his garments and rent them, and all the men who were with him did likewise. They mourned and wept and fasted until evening." —2 Sm 1:11-12

Praise:  Francis wrote apologetic books to defend against heresies and spiritual books to raise the faith of lay people. God so anointed his writing that he has been honored as the patron saint of journalists.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, June 1, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 9, 1997