Saturday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
In the land of my captivity I give thanks,
and declare his power and majesty to a sinful nation.
According to your heart do what is right before him… (Tobit 13:6)
Two final lessons await us from the book of Tobit as we close the week: the importance of record keeping and of almsgiving. Tobit has many reasons to praise God and he writes them down as Raphael tells him to do. The recording of God’s mercies is particularly important given Tobit’s life. A lot of bad things have happened to him. Though it remains a mystery why evils befall the just man, there is a discernible good that comes to this just man. In the land of exile, in the midst of those who would mock his piety and charity, he can affirm that he does not pursue righteousness for some sort of reward in this life. He ended up recovering his sight, but he was content to praise God when he was blind. He did see the return of his son, but he never stopped praising God even when his son was gone. He did not leave the land of exile, but that only provided him with an audience less accustomed to hearing the just praises of the Lord. Perhaps you are experiencing something analogous to Tobit’s life in exile. Perhaps you or those around you are tempted to frustration or despair. Remember that it was not in the Holy Land that the children of Israel received the Law. The Lord give His divine commands to them while they were in the midst of the wilderness. He offers His Spirit to our hearts, precisely in the land of exile. This is particularly the place where God’s gifts should be carefully noted.
Next, after recording the gifts of the Lord and praising Him for them, remember what the scribes forgot: justice will be received according to generosity, so give to those in need. Justice awaits the greed of the scribes and the generosity of the widow. The Spirit shows us how not to seek more surplus for ourselves, but rather to be rid of surplus and to give even from what is vital so that others may have what they need. How should we praise the Lord? Almsgiving is the best, according to Raphael the Archangel. As we recall the Lord’s goodness to us, may the Holy Spirit teach us how to imitate the One we contemplate and give of ourselves for the life of others.
June 10th, 2017