By Fr. Roy Cimagala
WE may still be lacking many things, we may still be struggling in our poverty, but with what we already have we should be happy and thankful. If we want to improve our lot, which we normally do, let’s do it without falling into bitterness and falling into anomalies like envy, self-righteousness, etc.
I guess this is the precious lesson being imparted in that parable of the landowner hiring workers into his vineyard at different hours of the day and giving them the same wage as agreed upon. (cfr. Mt 20,1-16)
The parable simply tells us at bottom that God cares for everyone of us. He does not make distinction of persons insofar as loving is concerned. His love is universal. It covers all despite the vast differences among ourselves.
This is the thought that should be with us everytime we see the differences and the great variety of conditions we have among ourselves. Yes, we have to acknowledge our differences, our advantages and disadvantages, etc., but we should not forget that God loves all of us and that we too should love everybody else the way God loves all.
Let us remind ourselves that our differences are meant to develop, if not enrich, everyone through the dynamics of complementation and supplementation. Let’s see to it that we are not unduly entangled with the unavoidable tension and conflict, and that we manage to go past them and see the bigger picture.
What is incumbent on us is to give what we have, what has been entrusted to us by God—our talents and other gifts—as much as we could for the common good. This is where our true joy and self-fulfillment are. It’s in giving that we truly love, and that we truly get blessed.
We should never think that our talents, gifts, blessings and other privileges and advantages we can have in life entitle us to lord it over others, or to be proud and vain, or to expect more privileges. They are never meant to make us feel superior to others, turning us into conceited persons.
If ever, these things should only make us more aware of the greater responsibility we have to contribute to the common good. That consideration, which we should try to be with us always, should sober us and stop us from making fantastic, baseless ideas of ourselves.
These gifts and blessings should make us more humble and more responsible, as well as more discerning as to what God has in mind for their proper use. That’s because when not referred to God, these things can have no other effect than to spoil us.
We have to be most wary of the danger of envy. It’s that uneasy feeling that others are better than us in some respects. We can even be envious of others who we know are doing evil and yet appear to be having a better time than us. Or it can come as a result of some personal frustrations, defeats and losses while others appear to only have successes and victories.
Envy is usually accompanied by sadness and sometimes by hatred, anger, bad thoughts and impulses of revenge, fault-finding and bitter zeal. It comes as a result of comparing oneself with others without God in the middle. The standards used are highly subjective and restrictive.
We can effectively and rightly do things when we go along with the ways of God’s love for everyone!
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