We have a very short Gospel reading today from Mark 8. The Pharisees are looking for a sign from Jesus. But Jesus tells them that “no sign will be given this generation.” What they failed to realize is that the sign was standing right in front of them. A good lesson for us to remember: to see our sign, look no further than the Mass.
In the first reading today, we read the story of Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve’s first two children. Cain becomes jealous of Abel and perpetrates history’s first murder. After Cain kills Abel, the Lord asks him, “Where is your brother Abel?” Cain answers, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
It’s a famous line that has been bandied about by politicians and theologians, princes and paupers ever since. On a corporate level, a Libertarian would probably argue that the answer is no. Every man for himself! But I don’t think there is a hard and pat answer for this. In some measure we certainly are our brother’s keeper. We must fulfill God’s call to care for the poor, the widow, the orphan, the oppressed. And the Church has been doing that since the beginning. I’m sure there are certain levels and situations where the answer is no (enabling and co-dependency come to mind), but when a brother or sister has a genuine need and we are able to help with that need, then we must be our brother’s keeper.
Father, teach us kindness, gentleness and compassion. Show us opportunities to help one another, and give us the heart to follow through. Amen.