Wednesday, June 03, 2015


THURSDAY, 9th Week in Ordinary Time

June 4, 2015 THURSDAY, 9th Week in Ordinary Time

Tb 6: 10 - 11; 7:1bcde, 9-17; 8: 4 - 9a / Mk 12:28 - 34 

Reading: Tb 6: 10 - 11; 7:1bcde. 9-17; 8: 4 - 9a
     When they had entered Media and were already approaching Ecbatana, Raphael said to Tobias, "Friend, we shall spend the night at the house of Ragouel. He is a relative of yours. He has no son, just an only daughter called Sara. 
     When they arrived in Ecbatana Tobias said to Raphael, "Friend Azarias, take me straightaway to our friend Ragouel." So Raphael led Tobias to Ragouel's house and they found Ragouel sitting by the door of the courtyard.
     They killed a sheep and served them numerous dishes.
     After they had bathed and washed, as they were relaxing before the meal, Tobias said to Raphael, "Friend Azarias, tell Ragouel to give me Sara my kinswoman. Talk about what you were saying during our journey, that the matter may come about and be accomplished." Ragouel overheard the conversation and he said to Tobias, "Eat, drink and be merry tonight. You are the man who has most right to take Sara my daughter because you are my kinsman. Indeed it is impossible for me to give her to any other man but you, because you are my closest relative. But, my son, I must tell you the whole story. I gave her to seven husbands from among our kinsmen. They each died on the wedding night. But, for the moment, my son, eat and drink and the Lord will arrange things for you."
     Tobias said, "I shall eat nothing if you do not stop now and bring this matter to a conclusion." Ragouel said to Tobias, "Take her from now on; I give her to you according to the Law of Moses and you have to understand that God himself gives her to you. Receive your kinswoman, from now on you are her brother and she is your sister. She is yours from today and forever. Now God will bless you this night and may he give you both his mercy and peace."
     He called his daughter Sara and taking her by the hand, he gave her to Tobias as his wife. He said, "According to Moses' Law, take her now and bring her to your father's house." And he blessed them. Ragouel then called Edna his wife; taking a sheet of parchment, he wrote down a matrimonial contract and they both affixed their seals. Then they all began to eat. Ragouel called his wife and said to her "My sister, prepare the other room and take Sara there." Edna did as Ragouel told her and she took Sara to this room and Sara began to cry. Edna dried her daughter's tears and said, "Have courage, my child, the God of heaven and earth will change your sorrow into joy. Have confidence, my daughter!"
     When Sara's parents had left the room and closed the door, Tobias got up from the bed and said to Sara, "Get up, my sister, and let us ask the Lord to have mercy on us and save us." She got up and they began to pray, asking that they be given life. Tobias began like this,
     "May you be blessed, O Lord God of our fathers, and may your holy and glorious Name be blessed forever. May the heavens and all creatures bless you. You created Adam and you gave him Eve, his wife, as a helper and companion, so that from these two the human race might be born.
     You said: 'It is not good that man should be alone, let us give him a companion who is like himself.' Now, Lord, I take my sister to myself in sincerity and love, not merely seeking pleasure. Have mercy on us and grant us a long life together." Together they said, "Amen," and returned to bed for the night.

Gospel: Mk 12: 28 - 34   
     A teacher of the Law had been listening to this discussion and admired how Jesus answered them. So he came up and asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?"
     Jesus answered, "The first is: Hear, Israel! The Lord, our God, is One Lord;  and you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. And after this comes another one: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these two." 
     The teacher of the Law said to him, "Well spoken, Master; you are right when you say that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all our heart, with all our understanding and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves is more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice." 
     Jesus approved this answer and said, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." But after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

     In the first reading, Tobias is married to Sara, whose first seven husbands have all died on their wedding night. So after the festivities and upon entering the bridal chamber, Tobias and Sara pray to God for protection and to bless their union. God protects them and the demon troubling Sara is vanquished.  
     There are some things in life which only God can overcome for us.  It could be a serious weakness, a dangerous vice, a tragedy which we cannot get over with, a past mistake which we regret, etc. Only God can raise us from the defeat and depression we may be experiencing. He is the God of the impossible. So we must pray to him for deliverance as Tobias and Sara did.
     In the Gospel, Jesus praises the scribe who understood what he was saying. He was saying that love of God and neighbor come before the offering of an oblation or sacrifice. Man is flesh and blood and his love for God must be visible and tangible. Therefore any deed, whether good or bad, done to our neighbor, is also done to God. The dwelling place of God is not only in the heavens but also in the hearts of men. 
     Jesus showed his love for the Father when he offered his body on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. So when we forgive others, we are manifesting God's love and forgiveness. Every religious cult has its sacrifices and oblations to their deity. But to love in the measure of the cross belongs only to Christ and to the Christians. Each time we love and forgive others, the kingdom of heaven is in our midst.       



Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most. 

Have a good day!

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