First Reading: Tobit 3:1-11, 16-17
Then in my grief I wept, and I prayed in anguish, saying, “Righteous art thou, O Lord; all thy deeds and all they ways are mercy and truth, and thou dost render true and righteous judgment for ever. Remember me and look favorably upon me; do not punish me for my sins and for my unwitting offences and those which my fathers committed before thee. For they disobeyed thy commandments, and thou gavest us over to plunder, captivity, and death; thou madest us a byword of reproach in all the nations among which we have been dispersed. And now thy many judgments are true in exacting penalty from me for my sins and those of my fathers, because we did not keep thy commandments. For we did not walk in truth before thee. And now deal with me according to thy pleasure; command my spirit to be taken up, that I may depart and become dust. For it is better for me to die than to live, because I have heard false reproaches, and great is the sorrow within me. Command that I now be released from my distress to go to the eternal abode; do not turn thy face away from me.” On the same day, at Ecbatana in Media, it also happened that Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, was reproached by her father’s maids, because she had been given to seven husbands, and the evil demon Asmodeus had slain each of them before he had been with her as his wife. So the maids said to her, “Do you not know that you strangle your husbands? You already have had seven and have had no benefit from any of them. Why do you beat us? If they are dead, go with them! May we never see a son or daughter of yours!” When she heard these things she was deeply grieved, even to the thought of hanging herself. But she said, “I am the only child of my father; if I do this, it will be a disgrace to him, and I shall bring his old age down in sorrow to the grave. So she prayed by her window and said, “Blessed art thou, O Lord my God, and blessed is thy holy and honored name for ever. May all thy works praise thee for ever. The prayer of both was heard in the presence of the glory of the great God. And Raphael was sent to heal the two of them: to scale away the white films of Tobit’s eyes; to give Sarah the daughter of Raguel in marriage to Tobias the son of Tobit, and to bind Asmodeus the evil demon, because Tobias was entitled to possess her. At that very moment Tobit returned and entered his house and Sarah the daughter of Raguel came down from her upper room.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 25:2-9
O my God, in thee I trust, let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long. Be mindful of thy mercy, O LORD, and of thy steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, or my transgressions; according to thy steadfast love remember me, for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD! Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
Gospel: Mark 12:18-27
And Sad’ducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection; and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the wife, and raise up children for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no children; and the second took her, and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; and the seven left no children. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”Jesus said to them, “Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God said to him, `I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.”
They must have thought they would stump Him; they must have thought they had a real zinger. They just couldn’t wait to see Him stammer and stutter, looking for an answer. Then they must have turned red with shame and embarrassment when He said to them, “You are quite wrong.”
How often do we think we’ve got it pretty well figured out, only to have the rug completely pulled out from under us? How often has the Christian life seemed easy and pleasant, and then disaster strikes; the death of a loved one, unemployment, broken relationships, depression, infertility, persecution. All of a sudden we don’t know which way is up or down, or how we are going to make it through. We feel just like Tobit and Sarah in the First Reading, who were certain that death would be better than enduring such suffering.
But as Saint Paul writes in the letter to the Romans says, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good” (8:28). It may take a long time to see what that good is. We may not even see it until we reach Heaven. And all we can do while we wait is utter the words of the Psalmist, “O my God, in Thee I trust.”
My dear sisters, don’t grow discouraged when the Christian life feels like a whirlwind, or an uphill struggle, or when we realize we are so far from having things figured out. It is during those times of struggle and uncertainty that Jesus is stretching us, growing us, perfecting us, and teaching us.
Use the words of today’s Psalm to place your trust in Jesus and seek His perfect will for your life. “Make me to know thy ways, O Lord; teach my thy paths . . . For thou art the God of my salvation.”
Anna Coyne is a wife, mother, knitter, gardener, and convert to the Catholic faith. Read more about her here.