12/29/2017

Q: Who did Cain think was going to hurt him after God punished him by making him wander the earth?

A: As we celebrate the season of our Lord Jesus’ Nativity, also known as Christmas, it is fitting we start with a question which is near the beginning of humanity’s salvation history, that is, the first offspring of Adam and Eve. We know from Chapter 4 of the first Book of Genesis that Cain killed Abel out of envy and was consequently punished by God to wander the earth as a fugitive. It is important to recognize that Cain was to wander the earth and he believed that his sin or transgression would follow him to the point that others would recognize him and thus take retribution or vengeance upon him for Abel’s death.

God, in turn, had already exacted punishment upon Cain and thus would forbid any further action taken against Cain. The story is quite clear that Cain believed he would encounter others as he wandered the earth and he feared for his life. Who did Cain fear? He feared anyone whom he would encounter because of his sin.

The question specifically focuses on “the others.” Cain’s concern that others could hurt him permits us to draw the conclusion he believed there were or there would be other people in the world with whom he would encounter. While the Book of Genesis does not expound in great description on how the growth of the human race occurred so quickly, we confidently recognize in subsequent chapters that our earliest of ancestors grew in number quite quickly. Therefore, Cain’s concern about his safety would have been expressed through his anticipation to encounter other people.

We know for a fact that Adam and Eve are humanity’s first parents and we also know from the concern Cain had that he would encounter more people in his wanderings. This may not be completely the answer you were looking for, however, we know that Cain would encounter others along his way.

 

Q: What do you do when you are not preaching?

A: As most know, we clergy do not simply “work weekends.” In fact, my life as your bishop is as they would say, 24/7 and I would have it no other way. While preaching takes up a brief period of time each day (I am certain that those who hear the homilies appreciate when brevity is respected), in order to preach I have to prepare my homily; work goes into each Sunday homily at least a week ahead of time.

While I do have a desk in my office in which I need to sign and read material, I spend as little time as possible at that desk in order that I make it out to visit our brothers and sisters in the diocese. In fact, I am grateful for the opportunity to visit our Catholic schools and engage in an impromptu “Ask the Bishop” as well as to even engage in conversation with others in the canned food isle at the grocery store. Yes, I even make visits to the hardware store, sort of my version of a theme park.

More importantly, I take time to pray each and every day, focusing on a Holy Hour to open the day, for I too need to have my “spiritual GPS” set correctly and focused on the face of Jesus each and every morning. I try to take nothing to chance when it comes to serving you as your shepherd. As you can see, I am a person like everyone else and each Christian vocation entails preparation and hard work.

 

Q: Why do we use water when people are baptized?

A: We read in the third chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew, that Jesus has established the Sacrament of Baptism, and we recognize in our faith water being the material that is filled by the Holy Spirit for our new birth.  The story of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan by St. John the Baptist instructs us that we are in union with Jesus Christ in our own baptism.

We use water for baptism because Jesus has made it so. At Jesus’ baptism, God the Father was present, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus as witness to Jesus being the Son of God, and the three Persons of God at that moment teach us that at baptism we have participation in the life of the Trinity (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 268).