Friday in the Fourth Week of Lent

Our first reading from Wisdom warns us about the corrosive effects of resentment. Resentment is the diminishment of noble values that call us to live by higher principles. We drag down the values, the principles and people who do live up to them. Instead, we elevate lower, more easily attainable standards of living.

The author tells us “they erred” because “their wickedness blinded them.” Among the things they don’t see is “the innocent soul’s reward.” Why don’t they see it? I believe the gospel tells us.

Jesus tells us about the ignorance or blindness of the wicked, of the resentful. He says, “You do not know where I am from.” That’s why they don’t see it. Jesus continues, “Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent me.” In other words, “How I got here is more important than being here.” How I got here, Jesus is saying, is the motive for being here. It made a difference. It’s important.

The higher values are true; they’ve always been true. They are important-in-themselves, not because of their capacity to satisfy. The value-detraction of resentment blocks this and gives primacy to the immediately, but short-lived, satisfying. We all learn this by trial-and-error… and the grace of God. It’s called “conversion.” That’s why “how we got here” is so important. Unhappy resentment is converted to happy admiration.