Scripture: Tobit3,1-11,16-17; Resp. Psalm: Ps25,2-9; Gosp. Accl.: Jn11,25-26; Gospel: Mk12,18-27
When sorrows weigh us down and it seems there is no means of escape, when those who should comfort us run away from us as if we were lepers, when misfortunes come upon us as if we were the only transgressors of God's eternal laws and were being made to pay for those transgressions, when life's challenges throw us off balance and the expected supports and consolations are neither here nor there, what is the response of any of us in those trying moments of our lives?
What attitude do we bring into those moments of our lives when all our permutations fail, all our projections flounder and all our hopes disappear like the morning mist? Many would turn against the foundations of their existence, blame everything on everybody else, lock up in themselves. Tragically, some will see no hope in living further. Tobit was of a different breed. Tobit has an answer to us when those moments arrive.
Tobit did not take his own life. Tobit saw his predicament as his punishment for disobedience and sinfulness. He asked God not to punish him for these sins and offences. He begged God not to turn away His face from him. He asked God to take his soul away if He was not ready to bring about a change in his fortunes. He begged God not to allow him to see so much distress and insults again. In summary, Tobit put his case to God! Tobit believed in the power of God to make a difference. Tobit gave God the opportunity to act. Tobit prayed, knowing that his entire life depended on that prayer.
When such prayers are made, God does not fail to listen. In fact as Tobit was praying, Sarah the daughter of Raquel, was also experiencing great sorrows and distress in her life having had seven husbands in quick succession who died even before sleeping with her. Sarah too was pouring her heart out in prayer before God to take away her sorrow from her life. God listened to their prayers. God arose and came to their aid. The Archangel Raphael was sent to heal the two of them.
The story of Sarah was probably the one that the Sadducees referred to in their plot to implicate Jesus with His words in today's gospel. Their point was to ask who would be the husband of this woman at the resurrection. Their point here was to ridicule the resurrection! The response of our Lord on that occasion was very insightful.
Our Lord in response stated that those who rise from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage because they are like angels in heaven. He equally taught on that occasion that God is the God of the living not of the dead. So, in all circumstances of life, God is not asleep, His hands are never short, His sight is never impaired, His might is never mitigated.
When we realize that the God we serve is the God of the living, not of the dead, then we should lift up our heads because our deliverance is very close at hand. We should understand that problems that are earthly and thus "manufactured and produced here", have production and expiry dates! They will go the same way they came. In such circumstances, the true believer will not but trust in the power of God. In such situations, God will not abandon the souls of his beloved. Let us not be shaken in our trust and faith in Him.
Let us pray: Lord our God, there are moments of great tempests in our lives, when the willows blow us hard to the extent of almost uprooting us. Let us in those moments experience your presence about us. Let us feel your protection around us. Give us hope. Strengthen our faith. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.