Sometimes when we encounter the daily scriptures they create different emotional responses. Take today’s two readings one from the Book of Tobit and the other from the Gospel of Mark they present us with two different situations that might just product two different emotions within us. In the passage from the Book of Tobit we encounter a charming little story while in the Gospel of Mark we are treated to another moment in the ongoing confrontation between Jesus and the religious leaders of his time – a feed good story and a perplexing scene of conflict.
In the selection from Tobit we are reminded of the basic virtues of loyalty and kindliness, a way of living life that is open to everyone. Anyone with an honest attitude and a compassion for others cannot help but tear up at least a little as we hear about the reunion between Tobiah and his parents. It is the story of a good heart, common-sense and the kindly love of others. It is a story about family, friends and the role they play in guiding us through life. It is a story that teaches us about community and about being Church.
As I said above it is a feel good story, the kind of story we need to encounter every once in a while so that hope remains alive. It is not a fairy tale, a happily ever after story. It is a story of everyday life, a story of coming home, of reconnecting and of the power of love.
Too often in our life we are confronted with scenes of conflict like the one in our Gospel. We are reminded that often religion becomes a business, a profession. In the Gospel, the temple, like perhaps the Church today, has become a place of controversy. The religious leadership of Jesus’ time seem to put more importance on such arcane question as the end of the world and what will happen rather than on the fundamental qualities of life like compassion, love, forgiveness, generosity and prayer.
Jesus refuses to go down the path of the religious leaders. He is not concerned about the “when,” “where,” or “how,” Jesus is concerned about the now! It is the act of living in the now that is most important. Tobit and Anna had hope in the future but their lives of patience and love were firmly grounded in the present and in the end they found new sight and life giving love.
Let’s not look too far ahead. Let’s not make thing too complicated. Let’s be watchful, loving, compassionate, forgiving, generous and prayerful so that we don’t miss those wonderful moments of God’s presence that come to our doorstep!
Have a great day everyone and may the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in your heart!
Father Paul Fagan, C.P.