Greetings on this the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: IS 56:1, 6-7; PS 67:2-3,5,6,8; ROM 11:13-15, 29-32; MT 15:21-28
This homily is live streamed and viewable at any time on the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Lake Worth Beach, FL) YouTube and FaceBook. Read or hear, up to you!
The Cain Problem
We come back to Cain and the Book of Genesis and the first murder.
Cain, having been disappointed in the Lord’s reception of his cereal offering relative to the gift of Abel is unable to master his passions. Despite the Lord’s warning (sin is a demon lurking), as such, he plots and kills his younger brother. It’s an easy read of chapter 4 of the Book of Genesis.
The part of the story I draw your attention to is the phase where the Lord confronts Cain and his evil deed.
- You shall till the soil in vain as it will no longer give its produce.
- You shall be restless wanderer on the earth.
Reaction to the Consequences
My punishment is too great.
- You have banished me from the soil – I am disowned from the family of man.
- I must avoid your presence – you will no longer hear my voice* the key piece.
- I have become a restless wanderer – I have lost my root in you, O Lord.
- Anyone may kill me on sight – I am lower than a beast in the sight of men.
The Lord Replies
- If anyone kills Cain, Cain shall be avenged seven fold.
- And, the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest anyone kill him on sight.
Cain Leaves the Lord
A heart breaking verse. Cain leaves his unity with the family and is self-exiled to Nod (the wandering place).
Cain went away from the Lord. He did not ask for help with the lurking demon.
Cain’s great, great, great grandson Lamech makes a confession generations later that he also has killed even perhaps a young boy. He extrapolates that if the Lord will avenge Cain seven times, he will avenge Lamech seventy-seven fold. This is establishing a long term, embedded way of life. A discordant line of reasoning. A drifting way of being relative to the Lord.
There are three distinct presentation of the Canaanite enemies of the Jewish people.
- Cain and his line. In a literalist reading of the OT this line disappears. Of course it doesn’t.
- The line of Noah and his son Canaan and after the tragic error of sin begets the lines of the Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites and Hivites (etc, all enemies of the Jewish people).
- The line of Lot and his daughters and after the tragic error of sin begets the lines of the Moabites.
Basically, everyone that isn’t us is born of tragic sin. Unworthy.
Vilifying Your Enemy
It ordinarily isn’t the time or place to discuss the writing and redacting of sacred Scripture in a homily. The biggest reason is the function of time. It simply takes too long to discuss some of the themes hidden within the text.
For today let us simply note that:
- Cain’s line never evaporated. Recycling of the name Lamech is a big hint.
- The vilification of the enemies is a redaction of sacred Scripture to explain the current historical situation using the pre-history of the Genesis story.
She finishes the story of Cain.
Her daughter, subject to the lurking demon present in Genesis and harming Cain is represented.
She correctly notes that Cain was not ignored by the Lord but rather walked away from the Lord.
She has come back to resolve the problem.
Jesus reveres the aspects of the open Cain issues.
- Matthew 18:21-22 – one must forgive seven times seventy (extending the understanding of Lamech’s avenging thoughts).
- The lurking demon has had its full effect and needs to be removed.
- The absence from the House of the Lord is canceled.
She correctly states that she was never taken out of the house and now reclaims a place in the House of the Lord.
Jesus is in complete agreement.
The Canaanite woman represents all of us. We have exaggerated our distance from the Lord, allowed the lurking demon to have its way and we are in need.
The break of the table of course is the fullness of the Lord’s banquet which we were always invited but until now rejected.
Come taste the goodness of the Lord.
Peace be with you,