Today’s First Reading is pretty intense. The story of Cain and Abel is littered with sins large and small, and worse, the Bible is just getting started! But one of the lessons here is that life is choices.
Cain has many opportunities to avoid the sins he committed, but he chose not to. Cain’s sins are more than just killing his brother. He also sins by lying to God with his response of “I don’t know” among other things. Cain’s lie is mirrored in the Responsorial Psalm:
“You sit speaking against your brother; against your mother’s son you spread rumors. When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it or do you think that I am like yourself? I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.”
The other, more obvious failing of Cain is his jealousy of Abel. God recognizes this, and even warns Cain about it before it is too late. He tells him:
“Why are you so resentful and crestfallen. If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.”
God warns Cain about the devil, and the direction in which he is going. Cain pays no heed, but still gives in to Satan and ends up killing his brother.
After Cain had murdered his brother, God asked him where he was. Cain not only lies with his “I don’t know,” but he is mocking and sarcastic with his response of “Am I my brother’s keeper now?”
But God already knew what happened. He gave Cain a chance to repent and to tell the truth. Cain did not, and God went forward with the punishment that Abel’s murderer deserved. Cain is not very happy with his lot. He replied saucily to God’s words with “My punishment is too great to bear. Since you have now banished me from the soil, and I must avoid your presence and become a restless wanderer on the earth, anyone may kill me at sight.” Cain concludes that he can get out of God’s punishment if he dies. God replies: “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, Cain shall be avenged sevenfold.”
God’s hand is firm. But Cain had a choice, and he chose. He chose to lie. He chose to mock. He chose to kill his brother.
Cain had a choice. He was even warned.
Life is choices.
Perpetua Phelps is a high school student residing in West Michigan and is the second of four children. Apart from homeschooling, Perpetua enjoys volunteering at her church, attending retreats, studying Latin and French, and reading classics such as Beowulf, The Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, and Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc. She also spends much time writing novels, essays, and poetry for fun and competition. A passionate Tolkien fan, Perpetua is a founding member of a Tolkien podcast.
Feature Image Credit: geralt, https://pixabay.com/illustrations/direction-directory-away-decision-1033278/