Friday in the Second Week of Lent

Both of our readings today are about the destructiveness of envy. Envy is the active ingredient in resentment. Resentment is the experience of alienation from authentic and noble values and those who represent them. Resentment is what it takes to resist Jesus Christ.

Resentment arises from wounded pride, self-righteousness, fear, and a sense of powerlessness. Everyone experiences one or more of these at some time. The experience of powerlessness is how we know we need saving. Yet, we try to save ourselves. Comparison is the mother of pride so when we compare our raw meat to another’s defense mechanisms we think we’re the only one’s experiencing these inadequacies. Like the tenants, we try to show more power than we really have. We seek refuge in a pretense.

As the old song goes, “You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes…every form of refuge has its price…” Seeking refuge in pretense, in the resentment of discounting authentic value and elevating the importance of lower, more easily attainable things leads to the loss of a noble and enduring way of life. One no longer lives in the truth. That’s the price. And that hurts one’s interior life. Thinking becomes aimless and scattered. Affections also become dispersed.

Jesus Christ comes into our life and our refuge is in Him. He is the Truth. But unlike the vineyard tenants, we have to see it and value it. Making Him our refuge means all of our thoughts and actions are centered on Him as what matters most. Everything else gets its importance from its relation to Him. He is the needed power. What the resentful tenants didn’t know (and you can quote me on this) is that “our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.”