Jealousy is an interesting thing. We think we understand it but do we? It is often confused with envy, which has to do with someone else’s good fortune and us wanting it for ourselves. Jealousy, on the other hand, is more of a selfish feeling, a desire to keep what I have for myself alone and not share it. We’ve heard of a jealous lover, now we know what it means.
In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear of Paul and Barnabas as they journey through modern day Turkey, preaching the Good News. When they enter a town, they first visit the synagogue to share the Gospel with God’s Chosen People. The Jewish converts love what they hear and ask them to come back the following Sabbath. This infuriates the natural Jews because for centuries they have held in sole possession God’s love and favor, or so they thought. There is no room for sharing. They react with hostility toward the two.
Delight is a word that refers to great pleasure or joy. It can also be a verb, as to delight in one’s good fortune. It would’ve been nice if the natural Jews had delighted in the enthusiasm of their Jewish/Gentile brethren but that didn’t happen. They, instead, tried to contradict the teachings of Paul and Barnabas, who boldly pointed out, by the Grace of God, the truth of the Crucifixion and the Jews’ complicity. They told the Jews that the reason they came to them first, quoting Isaiah, was because God “made you a light to the Gentiles that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.” but they rejected Jesus and His Good News, so now Paul would turn to the Gentiles.
Imagine the history of centuries old dejection and being treated as outcasts the Gentiles must have felt. It’s difficult, I know, in this modern age when the Christian Faith is available to anyone and everyone who chooses to believe in Jesus and His Paschal Mystery and live by His statues.
There’s good reason to be Delighted.