Thursday, September 18, 2008


We know that God is tremendously generous, but sometimes His generosity bewilders us as we realize that His priorities may be so different from ours. God has, indeed, His own way of evaluating our performance and of rewarding it.

If, sometimes He seems to show a special attention for "the last and the least", it is not for us to question His decision. We should, rather, learn from Him to show a special love for the weak, "the losers," and "the lousy". God's generosity toward them should be our inspiration rather than the cause of envy.

The “workers of the first hour” had been praiseworthy, available, hardworking, laboring the whole day in the scorching heat. Really, they had done their best to earn their wages. But their complaining at pay-time tarnishes their image, for it reveals their weakness: they are envious.

In spite of all our efforts to sympathize with their concern for a fair retribution, the truth of the
matter is that they do not know how to appreciate the magnanimity of their Master. They feel envious when they see that others are offered a better deal. Their jealousy clouds their vision.

They would be right if everything in life were to be reduced to proportional retribution - so much compensation for so much done or produced. But if this were the only rule in life, no one would have time and attention (and money!) for those who do not “produce” – the weak, the sick, the disabled, the babies, the aged . . . .

Even the strongest among us would have had a very short life. For all of us, in fact, there was a time when we were weak, when we did not “produce” anything at all, and were totally dependent on the generous love of our parents and other people.

We only live on borrowed life! We all are the fruit of God’s
generosity, not of God’s retribution. And He keeps being generous with us, even when we positively deserve His just punishment.

Why react negatively, then, at His “exceptional generosity”
toward some of our brothers and sisters when we know that everyone will have to account in proportion to what one has received? Why be saddened by God’s generosity toward others, and forget that we too, and more than once, have been the beneficiaries of His wonderful liberality?

Envy is a terrible woodworm. It devours us from within. If left unchecked, it can destroy so much good in us and around us. Envy over the good fortune or achievements of our neighbor is like a plague that makes everybody’s life miserable. Instead, we should learn from God, who is ever so generous, ever so good. We should learn to rejoice at His liberality toward all His creatures. We should learn to imitate Him, in our little way, by using His very gifts to do good to others.


Help me Lord, overcome the envy that makes me sad
over my neighbor's success or good fortune.
Remove me from this web of bitterness
that poisons my heart and mind
and lead me to complain about the blessings
you have granted to those I should consider
my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Set me free from the moral blindness
of envy and arrogance that lead me
to question your wisdom and freedom
in the distribution of Your gifts and rewards.
Remind me that in every case, You know best.

Teach me to rejoice wholeheartedly
with those who rejoice because of Your blessings,
for this is what real Christian love and solidarity means.
Teach me to count my blessings -
the numberless blessings
You have showered and still shower on me,
day after day, minute after minute.

Teach me to rejoice in them with a grateful heart,
as Mary and all the Saints did.
Knowing that all good things in life
are gifts that come from you.

Teach me to use these gifts well,
the very best way I can,
with wisdom and creativity,
For that will be my clearest thanks to You,
the Source of all my blessings,
the Source of all my joy.