Monday, February 16, 2009
Mastering Sin (Gen 4:1-15,25)
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." These words which God speaks to Cain are so profound. Sin is very near to each of us, it is lurking at the door. Sin is drawn to us. Sin wants to dominate us. Yet we can master sin. Often times we actually believe the exact opposite and or live as if the exact opposite were true. That is that sin has great power over us and we cannot help ourselves. Often we claim that our sinful tendencies are simply human nature. This lie is destroyed in the light of the first reading today. God tells Cain that we have within ourselves the ability to Master sin. This then is a challenge to each and every one of us today. You can master your sinfulness. Yes you need God's Grace but you are capable of turning from your sins, and embracing the life that God wants to give you. Of course the Sacraments are the great means by which our Lord aids us in our struggle to master sin. However as we approach the beginning of Lent, it is good to once again turn to prayer, fasting, and alms giving. Frequent attendance at Mass and regular Confession grant us the grace to implement these Lenten practices in our lives. All prayer flows from the Eucharist, therefore we should take time this Lent to prepare for Mass, especially by reading Sacred Scripture. That is we could read the daily readings before Mass, or if we cannot attend Mass at least remain in union with the Church by praying with the same readings. We could also pray the Rosary more often and allow our Blessed Mother to teach us about the life of her Son, and Salvation History. We can also fast from things that we particularly enjoy one or more days a week, or fast from food at one meal time or for one whole day. Finally we could give time to serving the poor, or make a monetary donation to the Church or to a good organization that helps the poor. All these practices in truth are things that we should be doing all year long and we should only emphasize them during Lent. In reality many struggle throughout the year to do any of them consistently or at all. Perhaps meditating upon the words God speaks to Cain will help us to recognize that in fact we do these things not only as an offering to God but also in order to Master the sin in our life that is constantly with us, lurking at our door seeking to dominate us.