Today’s reading from Genesis focus on the sons of Jacob. The story is familiar to us; movies and musicals have been made to tell the story. Jacob gives his second to youngest son a unique tunic which fuels the flame of envy in the older brothers. It would be good here for us to distinguish the differences between jealousy and envy.
Jealousy is seeing something someone else has, and wishing you had it too. Could be a car, a house, a family, etc. Usually with jealousy you do not wish harm upon the person who has what you desire; in fact, it can drive you to strive for that item on your own. If applied to the case of Joseph’s brothers, their jealousy would have driven them to work on their relationship with their father, and to be glad that their brother Joseph has such a relationship.
Envy, on the other hand, is seeing something someone else has, wanting it for your own, and wishing bad things would happen to that person and/or that object coveted would be taken away from him/her. It is clear that Joseph’s brothers had a very bad case of envy. Genesis 37:4 states, “…they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.”
And worse, envy steals our joy; it leaves no room for love to grow. One who suffers from envy must strive toward charity, or brotherly love if they are to free themselves of the burden that weighs us down from envy.
Let us ask the Lord to help mold our hearts after His Sacred Heart, which is perfect charity, and through this virtue overcome any obstacle that separates us from our neighbor, and ultimately, from God.
May God bless you!