Bitterness is not Christian. Pain is, but not bitterness…
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis made this distinction during his homily at his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today, as he recalled today’s first reading, which speaks of Cain and Abel.
The Pontiff offered the Mass for Father Adolfo Nicolás, the former Superior General of the Society of Jesus, who is preparing to continue in his mission in Asia.
Small Things Destroy Brotherhood
Reflecting on the reading, the Jesuit Pope noted that for the first time in Bible, we hear the word ‘brother’ and we listen to a “story of brotherhood that should grow and be beautiful, but ends up destroyed.”
“A story which begins ‘with a little jealousy,’ Francis said, explaining that Cain is irritated because his sacrifice does not please the Lord and he begins to cultivate a feeling of resentment, a feeling he could control, but does not.
Cain, the Pope said, chose to harbor this sentiment and let it grow. The sin he will then commit is crouching within this sentiment. This, he continued, is how enmity between us begins with a tiny spark of jealousy or envy, and ends up growing so much that we see life only from that point of view.
“The speck of sawdust becomes a plank in our eye, our life revolves around it and it ends up destroying the bond of brotherhood; it destroys fraternity.”
Resentment is not Christian
One gradually, the Pope warned, becomes “obsessed, persecuted” by that evil that grows and grows.
As a result, the person detaches himself from one’s brother “turning him into an enemy who must be destroyed.”
“This enmity ends up destroying families, peoples, everything!” Francis said, noting this is what happened to Cain who ended up killing his brother.
At the very first sign of bitterness and resentment, Francis stressed, this process must be stopped immediately.
Recognizing that in his chapel this morning were some newly appointed parish priests, Francis urged them to be aware that “even within our episcopal colleagues.” there are small cracks and rifts that can lead to the destruction of brotherhood.
Brothers’ Blood Cries Out to God from Soil
When God asks Cain: ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ Francis noted, one sees that Cain’s answer is ironic: ‘I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?’ Correct, Francis said. ‘You are your brother’s keeper. And the Lord then said: ‘your brother’s blood cries out to me from the soil!’
“Each of us,” the Pontiff explained, “can say we have never killed anyone, but anyone who has a bad sentiment towards his brother, has killed him.”
“If you insult your brother, you have killed him in your heart.”
Those Suffering Today
The Holy Father then turned his thoughts to those who find themselves under the bombs of war or are driven from their homes, lamenting the process of killing starts from something small.
“How many powerful people of the world can say: I’m interested in this area, I’m interested in this piece of land… if a bomb falls and kills 200 children it is not my fault, it’s the fault of the bomb. I’m just interested in the land,” he said.
All of this begins, Francis reflected, with that feeling that makes you break away, not recognizing your brother, and it ends in a war that kills.
This, he said, is the process of bloodshed, and “the blood of so many people in the world today cries out to God from the soil.”
Pope Francis concluded, praying that the Lord helps us repeat His words: “Where is your brother?” and makes us remember those who “we destroy with our tongues” and those treated in the world who are treated “as things” instead of brothers.