1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.”
2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering,
5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
8 Cain said to Abel his brother, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. 9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength; you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Behold, thou hast driven me this day away from the ground; and from thy face I shall be hidden; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will slay me.” 15 Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If any one slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him. 25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another child instead of Abel, for Cain slew him.”
11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, to test him.
12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”
13 And he left them, and getting into the boat again he departed to the other side.
THE FIRST READING depicts an event that saw the first premeditated killing of one sibling against his brother. Abel was a cattle herder and Cain an agricultural farmer. Cain’s crime against his brother was motivated by jealousy and anger, because God had rejected his offering,but accepted the offering of Abel. The grounds for God’s rejection of Cain’s sacrificial offering indicate that the fruit he presented was of a poor quality and thus not good enough to be offered as a sacrifice! Conversely Abel offered an unblemished young lamb which was the expected required standard of the offering. Ex 12:5
To be sure,tilling the soil and planting produce to eke out a living is back breaking work (Gen 3:17-19) that came about because of disobedience when Adam and Eve were expelled from the sacred garden! The words “what have you done” signifies an acute disappointment,hurt and sorrow on the part of the questioner God. On the other hand Cain’s ‘couldn’t care less’ demeanor and response was arrogant, hubris and smacked of disdain! God knows the attraction to sin and implore us to master our resilience against sin. Verse 7
St MARK recounts the scene at our Lord’s arrival in Dalmanutha where the Pharisees engage Jesus in an argument. We can deduce that the conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees were more than heated because it centered around Jesus’ reported kingship which pointed to His divinity! Our Lord’s interlocutors were obviously not convinced by the arguments put forward by our Lord,neither were they impressed by the reported miracles hence they were seeking a “sign” from “heaven” as evidence to satisfy their personal enquiry. Our Lord’s dismissal and immediate departure from His interlocutors is telling evidence that they were not sincere seekers of truth,instead they wanted to validate their animus and disdain that Christ was not the promised Messiah.
When we indulge in arguments or ideas that promote or contemplate evil or a scam against a brother, sister colleague or neighbor, we must forthwith remove ourselves from such thoughts or deeds, because it is not of God! It is for these reasons God left us with Sacraments that wash away our sins; effects healing and nourishment to order our way of life to all that is good, holy, sacred and in accordance with the message of Christ Jesus.
LET US PRAY: Psalms 50:1,8,16-17,20-21
The Mighty One, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. 8 I do not reprove you for your sacrifices; your burnt offerings are continually before me. 16 But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to recite my statutes, or take my covenant on your lips? 17 For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you. 20 You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. 21 These things you have done and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you.
Catholic Witness Apostolate email@example.com Henry R SYLVESTER
Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church uses in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days of saints around the world.
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