We are all human beings
Happy President's Day to all of my parish families and friends,
Walking across the prison courtyard the man stopped and looked into my eyes and said: "Father...I cannot wait to see my wife and daughter because I was away upstate for twenty five years..."
Today's scripture (Gen 4: 1-15, 25) introduces us to Cain and Able. Cain was very jealous of his brother Abel because God was more pleased with Abel's offering than his. Cain allowed resentment, anger, and bitterness to enter and dwell in his heart. God asked Cain to "let it go". Cain did not listen to God and proceeded to allow sin to conquer his heart, thus murdering his brother Abel.
Cain's actions led to his punishment. Some might even say that he deserved the death penalty. However, in Genesis 4: 15 God marks Cain with a sign on his forehead so that he is protected from being killed. God does this so that the cycle of violence will end.
Catholic social teaching reminds us that all life, from of the moment of conception until our last breath, even the life of a violent criminal, has a God given sense of dignity that must be protected at all times. This may be a difficult teaching to grasp especially when we consider someone who has hurt another human being.
The gospel teaches us that justice cannot be achieved through vengeance. Always remember that forgiveness and conversion are always possible - even for the greatest of sinners.
Capital punishment has proven to be unnecessary, ineffective, and unacceptable in today's society.
As we prepare for this upcoming Ash Wednesday, let us remember that we are all sinners in need of change. I will never forget the kindness that prisoner showed me that late winter's day. He reminded me that we are all created in God's image and likeness.
God bless.....Fr. Pat
on Monday, February 15 at 11:06AM