Archive for March 16th, 2017

Psalm 103: What is Ours

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Favorite from March 14, 2009.

It is easy to look on the gifts of others as a threat.  We often want what we don’t have and in doing so forget the good that God has given us.  But wanting what is not rightfully ours is the root of many serious sins.  Let us instead look how generous God has been to us and rejoice in his generosity to others.  For this is the way to justice and happiness.  (MAGNIFICAT Evening Prayer for Friday, March 13).

As I opened the Bible today to spent time in reflection, the pages fell open to Psalm 103: Praise of Divine Goodness.  I remembered the words from last evening’s prayer.

It was out of envy that they handed Christ over.  Matthew 27:18

Love is patient.  Love is kind.  It is not jealous.  1 Corinthians 13:4

It is now the hour for you to awake from sleep . . . The night is advanced, the day is at hand.  Let us then throw off the works of darkness [and] put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ . . . (Romans 13:11-14)

Wanting what is not ours only brings pain to ourselves and others.  This we know and we are quick to realize that we ought not to covet the possessions of others; but do we often think of how we might covet the intangibles of life?  We may wish we possessed the friends of others, the jobs of others, the good looks and easy manner of others.  Do we wish we had the closeness others have with God?  Are there relationships others might have in work and in play that we wish were ours?

When we want what is not ours, we open ourselves to that which grows in the dark.  When we give thanks for the gifts freely given us by God, we open ourselves to the light.  When we use our feelings of jealousy as opportunities to thank God, we regard each sensation of envy as an opportunity to rejoice in God’s merciful kindness.

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, do not forget all the gifts of God . . . he delivers your life from the pit, surrounds you with love and compassion, fills your days with good things . . .

Psalm 103 is the one designated to be read for Mass today, and the Gospel is from Luke, Chapter 15 verses 1 to 32.  It is the story of The Prodigal Son and The Forgiving Father, one that we all know.  The jealousy experienced by the straying son draws him away from the father and toward a life of dissipation.  The jealousy felt by the son who stays home leads him away from understanding the infinite mercy and generosity of his father.  It seems that no matter which course we take in life, we are susceptible to wanting that which is not meant to be ours.

When we feel jealousy and turn to thank God for what we have rather than becoming sad or finding a way to have what it is not ours, we enter into God’s plan of conversion for us.  In so doing, we enter into God’s grace.  In this way, we enter into the conversion of harm to goodness.

So let us thank God for what is ours, and let us give back to God what is not ours, we pray the intercessions form last evening’s prayer.

Seeking the generosity of God our Father, we pray to him:  Deliver us from jealousy. 

When we see the good fortune of others, let us rejoice in their happiness. Deliver us from jealousy. 

When we see our own shortcomings, let us not despise those who excel in areas where we are lacking.  Deliver us from jealousy. 

When we feel jealous, let us be happy with the gifts God has given us and not covet that which is not rightfully ours.  Deliver us from jealousy. 


Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 14.3 (2009). Print.  

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