Envy Blinds Us


Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

St. Agnes

1 Sam 18: 6-9,: 19: 1-7: Mk 3: 7-12

Dc. Larry Brockman

Today is the Feast of St. Agnes.  I found a strange kinship between the fate of David in or first reading, and St Agnes’ fate.  You see, both of these people were victims of a common vice- envy. 

Clearly Saul envied David, for although Saul was king, it was David whose praises were sung by the women the most.  Saul slew thousands; David slew Tens of Thousands.  And so, Saul envied David to the point of considering killing him.  Certainly, Saul was jealous and angry over his most loyal soldier’s success, but it was envy that drove those emotions.   

Now according to Saint Ambrose in the 4th Century, Agnes was a physically and spiritually beautiful teenage year girl who lived 100 years earlier.  She was much sought after in Rome by the young men, who envied and lusted after her beauty in body and spirit.  But she considered herself a bride of Christ, and rejected all these suitors.  This enraged the suitors, and so she was brought before the Roman officials charged with rejecting the Roman Gods.  She was threatened with torture, and ordered to worship pagan Gods.  When this didn’t work, they forced her into public prostitution knowing that she feared being violated more than she feared physical torture.  But whenever someone approached her, they had a change of heart.  They relented, and left her alone.  All except one, who in his boldness was struck blind, only to be cured of his blindness by Agnes herself.  Ultimately, her resolve and refusal to submit resulted in her being beheaded.  While lust seemed the primary motivation, I believe it was envy that was the root cause.  Envy of a young girl’s ability to stand up for the God she loved and believed in despite threats and perils.  An envy that moved her detractors to take whatever course of action they needed simply to break her- to seek revenge.  Anger, Lust, Revenge, and Jealousy fill these two stories, band but with an underlying base of envy.   

How about you and I?  Have we ever envied someone else’s success such that it caused us to be angry or jealous- with the result being some inappropriate action?  Have we envied someone else’s looks or possessions to the point of inappropriate desire?  God gives us all gifts- not necessarily the ones we want.  But the ones he wants for us.  Our vision is sometimes blinded to what we do have,  by our envy and desire of what we do not have.  Today, make a special effort to thank God for what you do have- your gifts, your talents, the beautiful person that you are.  After all, they were fashioned by your God just for you. 

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