Monday, 13 February 2017 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the Sacred Scriptures, to the reading from the Book of Genesis, where we heard the famous story of Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve, where the account of the first murder, a very serious sin in the sight of God, was done by mankind. Cain murdered Abel because of his jealousy, that his sacrifice to God was not accepted while that of Abel was accepted.

It is the overarching theme of today’s Scripture readings, that is of sin and the refusal of mankind to repent from their sins and from their waywardness. Beginning with Cain to the sons of men and women down the ages, to the Pharisees and the opponents of Jesus during His time, and right down to us living here in this era and time, and most likely to the time in the future and beyond. Sin is always a part of our life, and many found it difficult to disentangle themselves from the trap of sin.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, one may be wondering why Cain and his sacrifice was rejected, while the sacrifice of Abel was accepted by God. It is most probably because due to the sins of mankind, the ground and earth itself has been corrupted and cursed, and all the products of the earth had been tainted as a result. When God banished mankind from Eden, He cursed the very earth itself, saying that man will have to work hard and toil, and even though they work hard, there will be little produce.

And as shown throughout the Old Testament, God prefers animal sacrifices, and Abel as a shepherd offered his best sheep to God, at the same time when Cain offered his produce of the land, his crops and vegetables. In this manner, the contrast can be drawn in that while Abel obeyed the Lord and offered his very best, as what the Lord had instructed man to do, while Cain disobeyed and gave what was inferior.

This is a representation and comparison between those who obeyed the Lord, righteous in their ways, and followed the Lord, with those who have erred and wandered away from God, disobeyed Him and sinned. And we saw how the jealousy of Cain caused him to kill his own brother in cold blood, just because his sacrifices was not accepted by God.

Cain was the older brother, while Abel was the younger. From what we can understand in the relationships between siblings, it is likely that Cain felt humiliated by what he experienced, and his pride and ego took over him, as he felt the inability to accept that his brother had been honoured while he had not been given the same recognition. Thus, jealousy arose in his heart, and from jealousy comes anger, and from anger comes the intention to murder.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the same happened to the Pharisees, who always tried to test Jesus and to hinder His works wherever He went, because they were unable to restrain their pride and ego, as they saw in Jesus a rival who must be eliminated so that their privileges and positions of honour could be maintained. This is why they were so adamant in their opposition to Jesus, and sin therefore prevailed over reason and truth.

All of these are reminders for us, that we are all weak and feeble creatures, sinful and unworthy men and women, who so easily succumb to the temptations of sin, to the distractions of the world, and to all the allures of the flesh. We are all like Cain who can succumb to our pride and ego, to the pull of our greed, to the malign forces and influences of jealousy and hatred, which lead us all into committing sin before God and before our brethren.

Therefore, let us all today, now and henceforth do our best in order to resist the temptations of sin, the distractions of this world, and learn to do our best in order to commit ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, by giving our love to Him, by deepening our spiritual relationship with Him through prayer and charity, loving our brethren who are in need, those who have no one to care for them.

It is through our faith and through the love we have in our works, that we are all brought closer to God, and further away from the darkness of our sins. It is important that we should learn to change our ways and to devote ourselves to righteousness from now on. Let us all repent our sins, be genuine in our conversion to God’s ways, and say to the Lord that we are all ready to walk in His ways.

May the Lord bless us all, and may He strengthen our faith, that we may always walk in His ways, and be righteous all of our lives, so that we will keep ourselves pure amidst a world filled with sin and darkness. May the Lord be with us all, guide us, and remain with us forevermore. Amen.

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