And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
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George Leo Haydock
Had respect. That is, showed his acceptance of his sacrifice (as coming from a heart full of devotion): and that we may suppose, by some visible token, such as sending fire from heaven upon his offerings. (Challoner)
The offerings of Cain are mentioned without any approbation: those of Abel are the firstlings and fat, or the very best; by which he testified, that he acknowledged God for his first beginning. Sacrifice is due to God alone, and to Him it has always been offered in the Church. We have the happiness to offer that truly eucharistic sacrifice to God, of which those of ancient times were only figures. What sacrifice can our erring brethren shew? (Worthington; Calmet)
It was not idly or in vain that in beginning this sermon we taught your good selves that our Lord does not recognize differences in appearance but takes account of intentions and rewards the will. Here, too, to be sure, notice this happening. Accordingly, let us attend with precision, dearly beloved, to the text and see what Scripture says about Cain on the one hand and Abel on the other, and let us not pass it by heedlessly. I mean, Sacred Scripture says nothing idly or by chance; instead, even if it happens to be a syllable or a single jot, it has some treasure concealed in it. Such, after all, is the nature of all things spiritual. So what does the text say? "In the course of time Cain brought an offering of the fruits of the earth to the Lord, and Abel also for his part brought an offering of the firstborn of his flock, and in fact the fattest of them." The meaning of the verse is clear even from the reading to those already capable of following more closely. But since we should ex...