Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Gospel Reflection

June 05, 2013
Wednesday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr
by Rev. Fr. Generoso "Gener" Geronimo (Episcopal Vicar for the Diocesan Clergy
Bahay-Pari, San Carlos Pastoral Formation Complex, EDSA Guadalupe)
12:15pm Mass, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord (Megamall Chapel)

Reading 1 Tb 3:1-11a, 16-17a

Grief-stricken in spirit, I, Tobit, groaned and wept aloud.Then with sobs I began to pray:

“You are righteous, O Lord, and all your deeds are just; All your ways are mercy and truth; you are the judge of the world. And now, O Lord, may you be mindful of me, and look with favor upon me. Punish me not for my sins, nor for my inadvertent offenses, nor for those of my ancestors.

“We sinned against you, and disobeyed your commandments. So you handed us over to plundering, exile, and death, till you made us the talk and reproach of all the nations among whom you had dispersed us.

“Yes, your judgments are many and true in dealing with me as my sins and those of my ancestors deserve. For we have not kept your commandments, nor have we trodden the paths of truth before you.

“So now, deal with me as you please, and command my life breathe to be taken from me, that I may go from the face of the earth into dust. It is better for me to die than to live, because I have heard insulting calumnies, and I am overwhelmed with grief.

“Lord, command me to be delivered from such anguish; let me go to the everlasting abode; Lord, refuse me not. For it is better for me to die than to endure so much misery in life, and to hear these insults!”

On the same day, at Ecbatana in Media, it so happened that Raguel’s daughter Sarah also had to listen to abuse, from one of her father’s maids. For she had been married to seven husbands, but the wicked demon Asmodeus killed them off before they could have intercourse with her, as it is prescribed for wives. So the maid said to her: “You are the one who strangles your husbands! Look at you! You have already been married seven times, but you have had no joy with any one of your husbands. Why do you beat us? Is it on account of your seven husbands, Because they are dead? May we never see a son or daughter of yours!”

The girl was deeply saddened that day, and she went into an upper chamber of her house, where she planned to hang herself.

But she reconsidered, saying to herself: “No! People would level this insult against my father: ‘You had only one beloved daughter, but she hanged herself because of ill fortune!’ And thus would I cause my father in his old age to go down to the nether world laden with sorrow. It is far better for me not to hang myself, but to beg the Lord to have me die, so that I need no longer live to hear such insults.”

At that time, then, she spread out her hands, and facing the window, poured out her prayer:

“Blessed are you, O Lord, merciful God, and blessed is your holy and honorable name. Blessed are you in all your works for ever!”

At that very time,  the prayer of these two suppliants was heard in the glorious presence of Almighty God. So Raphael was sent to heal them both: to remove the cataracts from Tobit’s eyes, so that he might again see God’s sunlight; and to marry Raguel’s daughter Sarah to Tobit’s son Tobiah, and then drive the wicked demon Asmodeus from her.

R. (1) To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
In you I trust; let me not be put to shame,
let not my enemies exult over me.
No one who waits for you shall be put to shame;
those shall be put to shame who heedlessly break faith.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.

Gospel Mk 12:18-27

Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and put this question to him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants. So the second brother married her and died, leaving no descendants, and the third likewise. And the seven left no descendants. Last of all the woman also died. At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be? For all seven had been married to her.” Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven. As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.”


The first line of our First Reading brings us into the heart of Tobit. Here, we can see the spiritual or the inner condition of Tobit. He is described as grief-stricken in spirit.
And I think, in one way or another, we can see also ourselves in the same inner condition - being grief-stricken in spirit. Great difficulties really come into our life. And I'm sure some of you are undergoing such great difficulties. And great difficulties can take us to many directions. Sometimes away from God, or sometimes closer to God. And so we can ask ourselves. In these difficulty that I am going through, where am I directed? Closer to God or away from God?
And not only that. Sometimes, we also begin to question the love of God. We begin to question the presence of God and we ask ourselves, "Where is God?" But I think we also sometimes find ourselves in two situations. If we are undergoing a certain kind of problem, we look for a solution. And sometimes there are solutions that we can find. There are problems with solutions. But there are problems also that we can call dilemmas. It is no longer a problem but a dilemma when sometimes, we cannot find a solution. When it is so hard for us to find the solution, we see ourselves in a dilemma. And when we are in a dilemma, we go deeper into questioning ourselves and our relationship with God. And sometimes, the question is - "Is this difficulty a kind of punishment that comes from God?" It is no longer a question of where is God, but rather we say to God, "God, have I done something wrong, that the reason why I am in this situation is because I am punished?" And that is what a dilemma is.
But if you look at our First Reading, rather than questioning God, rather than asking God whether it comes from a certain area in our lives that we are punished, we can see great prayers that come out during great difficulty. And I think, brothers and sisters, that should be our disposition. Great difficulties must also become great times for prayer. Great difficulties can also bring us to great prayers. And I think sometimes the greatest prayer that we can ever say during times of dilemma is this - when we can no longer pray. When we say to God, "God, I do not know what to pray. God, I do not know what to say." I think that is the greatest prayer that you can offer to God during times of great difficulties and dilemma.
Let us continue to read the First Reading and look at the prayer of Tobit. Great prayers happen during times of great difficulty. Amen.

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