Christians must close the doors to the jealousies, envy and gossip that divide and destroy our communities: that’s what Pope Francis stressed in his homily at Mass in the Santa Marta guesthouse Thursday morning.
Pope’s remarks take on added meaning because today marks the sixth day
of prayer for Christian unity which culminates Saturday with the
celebration of Vespers presided by Pope Francis in the Rome Basilica of
St. Paul Outside the Walls.
In his homily, Pope Francis reflects
on the day’s first reading which recalls the victory of the Israelites
over the Philistines - thanks to the courageous actions of the young
David. But, King Saul’s joy over the victory soon turns to sadness and
jealousy when he sees the women praising David for killing Goliath.
"that great victory,” Pope Francis says, “begins to undergo defeat in
the heart of the King" and like Cain, the "worm of jealousy and envy"
begins to insinuate itself in its place. And again like Cain and Abel,
the king decides to kill David. "This is what jealousy does in our
hearts,” observes the Pope. “It is a destructive anxiety (it:
inquietudine cattiva), which cannot tolerate that a brother or sister
has something that I have not." Saul, "instead of praising God for this
victory as did the women of Israel, prefers to withdraw into himself,
feeling sorry for himself (it. rammaricarsi)” and “stew his feelings in
the broth of bitterness."
"Jealousy leads to murder. Envy leads
to murder,” the Pope says. “It was this door, the door of envy, through
which the devil entered the world.” “Jealousy and envy open the
doors,” the Pope says, to “all evil things…They also divide the
When some members of a Christian community suffer
from envy and jealousy, the Pope reminds us, the community “ends up
divided: one against the other.” And “this is a strong poison – a
poison that we find on the first page of the Bible in Cain."
Francis goes on to say that in the heart of a person affected by
jealousy and envy " two things are very clear." The first thing is
"The envious person, the jealous person, is a bitter
person who doesn’t know how to sing, how to praise, (or) know what joy
is.” This kind of person, reflects the Pope, always looks at what
someone else has that he or she does not have . “And this leads to
bitterness, a bitterness that spreads throughout the whole community.”
These people, he says, are the “sowers of bitterness.”
approach, the Pope remarks, that “brings jealousy and envy, are
rumors.” When someone cannot stand to see that someone else has
something he wishes for himself, Pope Francis says often, the “solution
is to put the other person down” so that “I am a bit higher up.” And
the tool used to do this, the Pope points out, is “gossip.” Behind every
rumor, says the Pope, “there is jealousy and envy. And gossip divides
the community, destroys the community. Rumors are the weapons of the
"How many beautiful Christian communities," the Pope
exclaimed, “were getting along well,” but then were divided and
destroyed because one member allowed the “worm of jealousy and envy” to
enter his heart. And with it, come “sadness, resentment and gossip." A
person under the influence of envy and jealousy, the Pope insists,
In concluding, Pope Francis called for prayer for “our
Christian communities so that this seed of jealousy will not be sown
between us, so that envy will not take root in our heart, in the heart
of our communities, and so we can move forward with praise to the Lord,
praising the Lord with joy. It is a great grace, the grace of not
falling into sadness, being resentful, jealous and envious."