Various feelings occur when we discover that something good happens to a neighbor or friend.  Some of us jump to our feet and dance around in joy.  Our friend’s success is reason for us to celebrate. But for some of us, a dangerous tendency sets in. It bothers us why our friend, and not ourselves, has been more lucky or blessed. We start comparing ourselves with our friend and soon, become resentful of the blessings we think should have been ours. 
We are all too familiar with this last feeling – envy.  Envy comes naturally, because all of us have the desire to obtain good things for ourselves, things that can only be found in others.  But unchecked, envy is disastrous.  It is what our Catechism calls, “a capital sin.”
The gospel illustrates the dynamics of envy.  The laborers in the vineyard reported to work at different times, agreeing to receive the same amount of pay.  At day’s end, those who worked earlier begrudged those who worked later for their equal pay.  Sad and angry at their co-workers and the landowner, they felt only betrayal and unfairness. They felt they deserved more and so forgot to focus on their blessing. They also forgot all gratitude.
Envy is a sin because it is “sadness” at the sight of others’ good fortune.  It is a desire to have what others have, even in an unjust way.  It can lead us to do harm to our neighbor, by trying to destroy them verbally or physically, so that they will be blocked from enjoying in peace what they truly deserve. The root of envy is pride and lack of charity towards our neighbor.  
The gospel does not only illustrate the working of envy and thus, give a warning against it.  It is also an invitation for us to overcome this disastrous inclination of the human heart.  Jesus is calling us today to quell the powerful impulse of an envious heart.  But how do we successfully carry it out?
First, we need to focus on the action of God.  God, the landowner in the gospel, issued an invitation to all the workers he met.  He called people equally; inviting all who cared to listen.  And he distributed the pay as agreed.  It was not the length of working time, but the heart of God, that was the basis of their remuneration.  By giving equal pay to everyone, God was not acting fairly – he was acting generously.  Don’t we have enough reason to thank God for blessing all of us in spite of our unworthiness?
Second, Jesus is inviting us today to form a communion with others, a deeper unity and fraternity that would make us weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.  Every person is a brother or sister and his/ her gifts are also our gifts.  There is no need to be threatened by the success of others, when we are filled with love and respect for them.  Unhealthy competition and deceitful dealing with others do not promote unity.
Today, let us thank the Lord for warning us against the subtle temptations of envy.  With Jesus, let us learn to be thankful for our own gifts and those of others.