Posted: 16 Feb 2009 01:00 AM CST
Gen 4:1-15, 25 / Mk 8:11-13
Like so many of us, Cain tried to bluff his way out of a tight spot when the Lord himself called him to account. His brazen response to God’s question as to the whereabouts of his brother whom he’d just killed is astonishing: ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ He thought he could fool God, but he couldn’t, and neither can we.
Few of us will ever have to face the consequences of fratricide, but all of us will have to give a detailed answer to the question that Cain posed so cynically. The correct answer is that we are indeed our brothers’ keepers — and our sisters’ keepers too.
But what exactly does that mean in the practical order? A massive welfare state in which all the needs of everyone are fully provided for but nobody works? Not quite! Being one another’s keepers means doing our best to see to it that everyone has the chance to build a decent life and to develop their talents. It’s about opening up opportunities for people to thrive.
Even the poorest and humblest of us have the chance to do that for one another many times every day, opening doors instead of closing them. They may be doors to new ideas or insights, doors to a warm meal, doors to a little rest or comfort. So many doors that need opening for so many people, and we have the keys to more of them than we’d suspect.
Don’t hide those keys or keep them locked away. Use them regularly. As you do, you’ll find yourself looking more and more like Jesus every day.