Thought for the Day – 18 February – Monday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, First Reading – Genesis 4:1-15
“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. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 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.” …Genesis 4:8-12
“Cain favoured instinct – he preferred to let this feeling stew inside him, festering and allowing it to grow. This sin, which he will later commit, which is couching behind the feeling, grows.
This, is how hostilities grow between you – they begin with something small – jealousy, envy and then this grows and I pull away from my brother, saying this person is not my brother, this one is an enemy, this one must be destroyed, driven away… and so people are destroyed -it is thus that animosity destroys families, populations, everything. It is that eating away at you, that being constantly obsessed with that person.
No!… there is no brother.
It is just me; there is no brotherhood – it is just me.
What happened at the beginning, can happen to all of us – it is a possibility. For this reason, it is a process which must be stopped immediately, at the beginning, at the first sign of bitterness. It must be stopped, because bitterness is not Christian – pain, yes, bitterness no.
Indeed, resentment is not Christian – pain yes, resentment no.
Instead, how much hostility and how many cracks exist and it ends in a war that kills.
However, you killed at the beginning. This is the process of blood and today the blood of many people in the world is crying to God from the ground.
And it is all connected – that blood has some connection, perhaps a small droplet of blood that I caused to ooze out with my envy and jealousy when I destroyed a brotherhood.”
Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 13 February 2017
It is not enough to simply “follow the rules” and stay out of trouble. If that is all we do then we are trying to achieve heaven by our own merits. God wants more from us than that. God invites us into a relationship of friends and family, a relationship of love. This type of relationship is a living, dynamic one. To love Christ and to want to be near Him is to be crucified with Him.
It means standing up for the Truth even when it is unpopular. It means finding time to pray. It means that we stay faithful to the teachings of Jesus. And it means that when we fail, we humbly confess our sins as we would apologise to a friend we have hurt, so that that relationship can be restored. It means that we must reflect Christ to the whole world, so that when people look at us they do not see us, they see Christ.
But in the end that is what it means to live for Christ and not for ourselves, to love for Christ and not for ourselves, to give of ourselves for Christ!