Monday, February 16, 2015


Yemeni soldiers stand guard outside the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, Yemen, as it's abandoned, on Feb. 11.   Photo: Yahya Arhab, EPA

Today’s daily mass scripture story [see below--Gn 4:1-15] is that ancient one, Cain & Abel, we feel we know by heart, but have seldom deeply explored for its comprehensive warning against envy & violence—and how that should be applied to today’s commonplace, institutionalized violence.
In this account from Genesis of the earliest of times there are only four people in the world.  Paradise has been lost, and they must work for a living.  To keep mindful of God they make sacrifice, offering first fruits to God.   Abel the younger brother does so [the best of his flock], Cain the older holds back [from the fruit of the soil].  The images we have [not in the text] are of God’s acceptance, smoke rising in Abel’s case, and rejection smoldering down in Cain’s.  Cain is envious and angry at God’s preferential treatment of his brother, so much so that Cain murders Abel—the first grievous sin recorded outside of Paradise.   Cain despairs, pleads with God, that with his banishment to wander, stripped of his ability to till the soil, others will surely kill him on sight.   So God puts on him the “mark of Cain” and the fatal warning—anyone who kills the murderer, will be subject to the wrath of God sevenfold.
 Abel -- by William Blake,   {Cain is marked}
Here in the first texts of Judeo-Christian scripture we find God strictly contradicting the “eye for an eye” worldly justice that still plagues the human race.   We are not to take up the lethal means of the aggressor.  We are not to kill the killers.  Yet in our day we have reversed God’s intention.  Instead of a sign of mercy and protection, we’ve made a “mark of Cain” into an automatic death sentence.

We place a “mark of Cain” [first and unredeemable, in our terms, murderers] on the people of ISIS, and terrorists of many nations, and religious fanatics of the Middle East, and many criminals or racial groups we deem threat to life & limb.   We do not heed God’s Old Testament admonition not to kill Cain--“If anyone kills Cain, Cain shall be avenged sevenfold.”   In the New Testament this fundamental message is made flesh—in the life, death and resurrection of God’s only begotten Son.  God is mercy.  God is forgiveness.  God is love.

The most recent manifestations of the ancient sin of Cain occur daily in the Middle East.   A Jordanian fighter pilot immolated in a cage, 56 counter strikes by Jordan’s fighter jets against ISIS military barracks and two ISIS prisoners in Jordan executed, in retaliation.   U.S. strategists want Jordan and others to launch a more continued, ferocious attack, and we’ll give them a 1 billion dollar aid package to help them do it.
 Iraq - Syrian family -- {partial to ISIS or some other faction?}
One center of murderous activity -- site of recent international envy-greed-pride-hatred

In Yemen our drones have been killing off those on a list we’ve marked as Cains for a more than a decade.   The result is at least seven-fold violent vengeance, as our latest allied president resigns, and we retreat from our embassy there, thousands being killed in complex Sunni-Shiite-alQaeda fraternal violence.
Hellfire missiles launched from drone
An image taken from a state-run television channel Al-Masriya broadcast after Egypt conducted airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Libya 2-16-15--Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

nd most recently in Libya more than a dozen Christians are beheaded—and vigorous killing of those Cains that did the deed is the neighboring Egyptian dictator general’s response [still our ally after his coup and violent repression of Egypt’s nascent democracy].  The satanic serpent who calls for the death of Cain continues his seductive insinuating whisper down through time.   Cain’s sin is terrible.   But contrary to the will of God, we’ve used the mark of Cain as our national target practice and war policy.  When will we listen to the voice of God--Father, Son and Holy Spirit—“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Mt 9:13

Illumination y Kathy Brahney

Hosea 6:6  Old Testament
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

Abel became a keeper of flocks, and Cain a tiller of the soil.
In the course of time Cain brought an offering to the LORD
from the fruit of the soil,
while Abel, for his part,
brought one of the best firstlings of his flock.
The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering,
but on Cain and his offering he did not.
Cain greatly resented this and was crestfallen.
So the LORD said to Cain:
“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.”

Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out in the field.”
When they were in the field,
Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then the LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
He answered, “I do not know.
Am I my brother’s keeper?”
The LORD then said: “What have you done!
Listen: your brother’s blood cries out to me from the soil!
Therefore you shall be banned from the soil
that opened its mouth to receive
your brother’s blood from your hand.
If you till the soil, it shall no longer give you its produce.
You shall become a restless wanderer on the earth.”
Cain said to the LORD: “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.”
“Not so!” the LORD said to him.
“If anyone kills Cain, Cain shall be avenged sevenfold.”
So the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest anyone should kill him at sight.

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