Read Tobit 2:9-14, Ps. 112:1-2,7-9, Mark 12:13-17

“She said, ‘It was given to me as a gift in addition to my wages.’ But I did not believe her and told her to return it to the owners. I became flushed with anger against her over this. Then she replied to me, ‘Where are your acts of charity? Where are your righteous deeds? These things are known about you!’” (Tobit 2:14)

Tobit’s wife, Anna, sold a piece of cloth she wove, and in addition to her full payment, the buyers gave her a goat. Tobit thought it was unusual to be offered such an expensive gift. However, he did not believe her story, and exercising his authority as head of the house, he ordered Anna to return the goat.

Picture it this way, your wife is a tailor, and one day she comes home with a brand-new car saying one of her customers offered her the car. You ask, “Is this customer a male or a female?” and she says: “Male, of course.” What kind of thoughts would run through your mind?

Tobit, who was in his fourth year of blindness at this time, thought she stole the goat and insisted on her returning the goat. Even in a pitiable condition, he was determined to remain righteous. Why would Tobit assume Anna stole the goat? Anger brings out the worst in us; it makes us temporarily irrational. If Anna had stolen the goat, how come no one heard its bleating?

Whatever we say or do in anger tends to have negative repercussions. In this case, Anna also became annoyed at Tobit for not trusting her. She retorted: “Aren’t you Mr Righteous? How has it helped you now? What do you have to show for your sacrifices for others?” Anna’s words pierced Tobit to the heart.

Learn to master your emotions. If you do, you will know when to be silent and when to speak. For example, if Tobit had kept his suspicion to himself, he would have realised later that Anna was telling the truth. Well, it is not easy to be silent when you are annoyed. It takes a lifetime to master your emotions, but it will only happen if you keep trying. Know that anger brings out the worst in you.

When they brought a woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus did not rush to provide an answer. For a while, he was silent, and by the time he eventually spoke, he put them to shame. Even in today’s Gospel passage, Jesus is asked a tricky question. Jesus did not rush to say “yes” or “no”. Instead, he asked for a coin and drew their attention to the emperor’s inscription when He said: “Give to Caesar the things that are the Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mark 12:17).

Whether we like it or not, people will provoke and set traps for us. This is why we must constantly pray for God’s help. The moment you notice you are angry, try to be silent.

Let us pray: Almighty Ever-Living God, teach me to be a master over my emotions. Give me wisdom to know when to speak and when to be silent. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of week 9 in Ordinary Time, Bible Study: Tobit 2:9-14, Ps. 112:1-2,7-9, Mark 12:13-17)

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu