Tobit 11: 5-17
Meanwhile Anna sat looking intently down the road by which her son would come. When she caught sight of him coming, she said to his father, “Look, your son is coming, and the man who went with him!”
Raphael said to Tobias, before he had approached his father, “I know that his eyes will be opened. Smear the gall of the fish on his eyes; the medicine will make the white films shrink and peel off from his eyes, and your father will regain his sight and see the light.”
Then Anna ran up to her son and threw her arms around him, saying, “Now that I have seen you, my child, I am ready to die.” And she wept. Then Tobit got up and came stumbling out through the courtyard door. Tobias went up to him, with the gall of the fish in his hand, and holding him firmly, he blew into his eyes, saying, “Take courage, father.” With this he applied the medicine on his eyes, and it made them smart. Next, with both his hands he peeled off the white films from the corners of his eyes. Then Tobit saw his son and threw his arms around him, and he wept and said to him, “I see you, my son, the light of my eyes!” Then he said,
“Blessed be God,
and blessed be his great name,
and blessed be all his holy angels.
May his holy name be blessed
throughout all the ages.
Though he afflicted me,
he has had mercy upon me.
Now I see my son Tobias!”
So Tobit went in rejoicing and praising God at the top of his voice. Tobias reported to his father that his journey had been successful, that he had brought the money, that he had married Raguel’s daughter Sarah, and that she was, indeed, on her way there, very near to the gate of Nineveh.
Then Tobit, rejoicing and praising God, went out to meet his daughter-in-law at the gate of Nineveh. When the people of Nineveh saw him coming, walking along in full vigor and with no one leading him, they were amazed. Before them all, Tobit acknowledged that God had been merciful to him and had restored his sight. When Tobit met Sarah the wife of his son Tobias, he blessed her saying, “Come in, my daughter, and welcome. Blessed be your God who has brought you to us, my daughter. Blessed be your father and your mother, blessed be my son Tobias, and blessed be you, my daughter. Come in now to your home, and welcome, with blessing and joy. Come in, my daughter.” So on that day there was rejoicing among all the Jews who were in Nineveh.
Psalm 146: 1-2, 6C-10
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
Who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!
Mark 12: 35-37
While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet.”’
David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.
It’s interesting that Tobias told his father to have courage right before applying the medicine that healed his eyes. What we know of the back story with Tobit, is that he had been blind for many years and had visited many doctors. It was actually the doctors efforts to heal him that made him worse and brought him to total blindness. So for Tobit to be receiving another medicinal treatment for his eyes bore many implications. He might have been afraid that this efforts would bear another physical abnormality and harm him further. He might have been apathetic and wanted to retreat to not believing that the medicine would help, so that when it didn’t he wouldn’t be disappointed. But to have faith again that he could be healed required courage. Tobit had to be willing to go back to a point of receiving aid, aid that once had harmed him, and be open again to healing. Being open to healing, though, also means being open to the healing not taking place. It could have been frightening for Tobit to once again place his trust in God.
Having faith, particularly when we have had a prolonged condition, can be hard or even painful. In our lives we face trials that can last many years and as we cry out to God in chronic turmoil and fail to see our circumstance change, we may become despondent towards God. Even if we mentally believe in His goodness, out hearts can become hardened and we can stop trusting Him.
Jesus begins to address this by directing our attention away from our earthly understanding of kingship and invites us to consider His divinity as an authority beyond earthly measures. The reality of Tobit’s story is that the Lord always desired to heal him. God did not delight in his suffering, but instead went to great measures sending an archangel, a giant fish, and discipling his son, Tobias, in faithfulness in order to bring about a miraculous healing that could only be understood by looking to God.
In times of prolonged trial, it is a discipline to have the courage of faith. It takes mental and emotional conviction to believe in God’s goodness when we are in pain and not immediately seeing the results of our prayers. But today God’s word is reminding us that He is above all things, and challenges us to believe in Him again.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I believe in your goodness to me. Lord I believe that you want to bring good out of even my most difficult circumstances and that even though I am suffering now, that you desire to bring complete care and healing. Lord today I renew my trust in you and believe that you will quickly come and heal me.