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June 1st - Tobit 2: 9-14, 3: 1

Fr. Michael MachacekNativity of Our LordJune 1, 2021
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today's other readings are Psalm 112 and Mark 12: 13-17

This week our first reading is taken from the Book of Tobit.  This book is thought to have been written around 200 BC, but the story is set in the 8th century BC.  The book is named after a Jewish elder who is forced to live in exile in Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, after the Assyrian's conquest of the northern Kingdom of Israel.  (The southern kingdom of Judah, with its captial of Jerusalem, was not conquered until the early 6th century by the Babylonians).

This book features a fascinating array of characters, including Tobit; his wife Anna; their son Tobias; a young woman named Sarah and her father Raguel who live in the city of Ecbatana; and a man called Azariah, but is in fact one of the 7 Archangels of God, Raphael.  

In today's reading we hear of the blinding of Tobias.  In his misery, he cannot accept the kindness extended to Anna, and believes that she has stolen a goat.  Anna rightly chides her husband for allowing his bitterness to not appreciate the kindness of others.  Tobias comes to understand that his grief is blinding his judgment, for which he weeps and then prays.

This little story reminds me of many sad occasions of encountering a person who has suffered much tragedy.  Overwhelmed by all that has happend to them, in many ways they shut down, so much so that they are unable to see anything that is good, or any kindness that comes their way.  In my ministry I have used today's reading to try to get the person to see things in a better light, sometimes successfully, but to be honest, more often  unsuccessfully.  So for them, all I can do, just like Tobit, is pray.