Read Tobit 6:10-11,7:1,9-14,8:4-9, Ps. 128:1-5, Mark 12:28-34

“When the parents had gone out and shut the door of the room, Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah, ‘Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and safety.’ So, she got up, and they began to pray.” (Tobit 8:4-5)

With eyes filled with tears, Tobit and Sarah prayed to God. That night, God heard their prayers. Sometimes, we spend time praying, and it seems as if we just spoke to ourselves, but the truth is that no prayer is ever in vain. Tobit and Sarah got up, wiped their tears, and continued their lives. There was no thunder in the heavens nor a particular sign to prove that God heard their prayers.

Too often interpret God’s intervention in our lives as mere coincidences, but as the story of Tobit shows, having committed ourselves to God in prayer, there are no mere coincidences. Tobit remembered the money he kept with Gabael, who lived in Media. Fearing he would soon die, Tobit wanted Tobias, his son, to go and collect the money. Tobias did not know the place, so he searched for a guide. This led Tobias to Angel Raphael.

Upon reaching the town of Media, Raphael persuaded Tobias to spend the night with Raguel, a relative of theirs. He also mentioned that Raguel had a daughter and that Tobias was the most suitable person to marry her. That evening, Sarah must have thought it was just a coincidence that they had visitors who came to ask her hand in marriage again. She had no idea this was God’s way of answering her prayer.

Despite the partying, drinking, and dancing of the marriage ceremonies, Tobias was not carried away; he remembered to pray. When it was time to be intimate with Sarah, Tobias said: “Sister, get up and let us pray.” How many of us remember to pray when we are excited or in love? Growing up, we were taught how to pray before eating any meal. This lesson should apply to all kinds of meals.

In your moments of celebration and happiness, always remember to pray. Following Raphael’s instruction to burn incense and pray that night, Tobias’s life was spared. The wicked demon Asmodeus was destroyed. Sarah’s father, Raguel, expecting the worst, woke up in the middle of the night to dig a grave for Tobias, but he soon realised there was no need for it.

In our Gospel Passage, a scribe came to Jesus to ask which commandment is the first. In his response, Jesus said: “The greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind, strength and soul and to love our neighbours as ourselves.” As St. John would explain, loving God without loving our fellow human beings is impossible. (cf. 1 John 4:20). Loving God and loving our neighbours are so intertwined that they can be considered a single commandment.

The scribe understood Jesus well and added that this commandment to love God and our neighbours far exceeds the offering of sacrifices, tithes, and so on in the Church. Jesus was so impressed that he said this scribe was qualified for heaven. God appreciates the love you show to others more than your offerings. No wonder Jesus said, if you are about to offer a gift, first go and reconcile with your brother before anything else. (Matthew 5:23-24)

Let us pray: Almighty Ever-Living God, may I never forget to pray even in moments of joy. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Thursday of week 9 in Ordinary Time, Bible Study: Tobit 6:10-11,7:1,9-14,8:4-9, Ps. 128:1-5, Mark 12:28-34)

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu