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Jealousy and envy are poisonous, Pope says

Pope Francis warned in his daily Mass homily today at the St. Martha Residence chapel in the Vatican of the dangers of the sins of envy and jealousy, saying that these sins promote bitterness between people and keep us from living lives that are joyful. “this is a strong poison – a poison that we find on the first page of the Bible in Cain,” the Pope said of jealously. The Holy Father centered his homily around the first reading for today, from First Samuel, where Saul attempts to kill David because of his jealousy.

Pope Francis today said that envy and jealousy can destroy Christian communities.
Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Saul heard the women sing the praises of David, the Pope pointed out, "and that great victory begins to undergo defeat in the heart of the King,” reflected the Pope. As Cain killed Abel because of his jealousy, the Pope said that “this is what jealousy does in our hearts. It is a destructive anxiety which cannot tolerate that a brother or sister has something that I have not.”

“Instead of praising God for this victory as did the women of Israel, Saul prefers to withdraw into himself, feeling sorry for himself and to stew his feelings in the broth of bitterness,” the Pope taught. “Jealousy leads to murder. Envy leads to murder, it was this door, the door of envy, through which the devil entered the world,” the Pope preached. “The envious person, the jealous person, is a bitter person who does not know how to sing, how to praise, or know what joy is.” Spreading rumors is also a sign that someone may be infected with envy. “Gossip divides the community, destroys the community. Rumors are the weapons of the devil.”

The Holy Father asked for people to pray that “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 or in the heart of our communities, 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."

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