Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the readings of the Scriptures which told us about how the first sons of mankind, Cain and Abel, got into conflict between them out of jealousy and due to the taint of sin in mankind’s heart. And in the Gospel we heard how Jesus refused to give the sign which the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had demanded from Him as a proof that He came from God.
Today’s readings are truly about us all, brothers and sisters. It is truly about ourselves and how we act in this life with regards to our own selves. We mankind are always by our nature selfish and thinking only about ourselves and acting for our own benefit. How many times in a day we utter the word ‘I’? Certainly in a lot of scenarios and circumstances we like to defend ourselves first and gain something for ourselves.
The same therefore happened in the case of Cain and Abel. Both of them gave their respective offerings and sacrifices to God on the altar. However, Abel’s sacrifice was more pleasing to Him than that of Cain’s. As a result, Cain was jealous of his brother, Abel, and in his mind he already plotted mischief and evil things for his brother. The rest of the story we have heard it, on how Cain murdered his brother and pretended not to know about it when the Lord asked him.
But God sees all and He knows all things that happen in this world. He knows all the thoughts of men, and whatever Cain had planned in evil thoughts and purposes against his brother Abel, the Lord knew them all. There is no escape for mankind to think of evil without the Lord knowing about it. Thus, it was the same as well when the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law tried to embarrass Jesus by asking Him for a sign. Jesus knew it all, and that was why in His heart, He was so deeply moved and disturbed.
Indeed, imagine what the Lord would have thought of this wayward creation of His, who have disobeyed Him so many times and broke His covenant so many times so that they all would have deserved annihilation and total destruction. But yet, the Lord was still willing to help them and He continued to love them nevertheless. Such is the greatness of His love for us! And yet, so many of us continue to ignore His love, reject His mercy and act in the same way as Cain had done, and as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done.
The psalm today indeed rightly criticised the latter, as if to foretell the actions of those who would hamper the works of the Lord. They pretended to love the Lord and obey Him, by the disguise of following and observing the laws, rites and customs which they also imposed on all others. In reality, in their hearts, there is not a place for God, but only their ego and their self-serving nature.
Thus, today we are all reminded to throw far, far away our ego and pride, which often will become a great stumbling block in our way to achieve salvation. Like Cain, who was older than Abel, it was likely that his pride and the attempt to preserve his ego that led him to contemplate such a great sin like murder, and a murder of one’s own brother no less. How many of us have harmed others around us, both intentionally or unintentionally because we are unable to control ourselves?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all called to grow stronger in faith and also in the grace of God, and become reduced in the self. Christ always taught us to love one another just as we love ourselves, and therefore, our consideration of the self, while it should still be there, should not come in the way of how we should love one another.
May Almighty God bless us always and may He guide us to live faithfully and serve Him with love, that we will grow less in our selfishness and individuality, growing more in our humility and desire to love each other, all brothers and sisters in the presence of God, and to love the Lord Himself with all of our strength. God bless us all. Amen.