Memorial of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr
The reading from the book of Tobit begins with yesterday’s feast, Pentecost. Tobit is ready to celebrate the feast day with a large feast at home. He sends out his son to find a poor kinsman to come and join him at home, only to have his son report that he has found a kinsman murdered and left in the street. So, Tobit spends his feast day engaged in mercifully burying the dead man, rather than celebrating. He recalls the words of the prophet Amos, “I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into dirges.” (Amos 8:10)
On top of this, Tobit notes that the city of exile in which he resides is hostile to such acts of mercy. His neighbors jeer at him for burying the dead, “Once before he was hunted, to be executed for this sort of deed, and he ran away…” (Tobit 2:8) Tobit was seeking to show proper concern for his kinsman through a fitting burial. This simple act of mercy, however, was a something odious to the inhabitants of his city of exile. This calls to mind Christ, and how his acts and words of mercy were often rejected. (Mark 12:1-12)
What we ask for is the grace to be faithful to the Lord’s call to mercy, whether that be at the small cost of missing a meal to take care of someone in need, or even at the great cost of violence to our person in defending someone else. May the Spirit which filled the Apostles with courage to zealously proclaim and live out the Good News fill us with that same courage.