Daily Readings Reflection for 3/8/11

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Scripture: Lectionary # 354. March 8: Tobit 2:9-14. Psalm 112: 1-2.7-8.9.
Mark 12:13-17

Today’s Readings

Family life has its struggles even in the Bible where we see disagreement
in a wife and her husband. This is seen in Job and all the moreso in the
devotional and pious narrative in Tobit. The story is fiction but it has a
clear theodicy as its motivation. It tires like Job to figure out why God
permits evil and how do we accept sufferings when we feel we are innocent
and do not deserve it. Or as one rabbi put it in his book why do bad
things happen to good people? The writer of the story is unknown and
desired to remain anonymous. He is skilled in the art of description and
knows how to keep his story moving with some interesting situations and
colorful characters within the development of the story. One of the great
new personalities to whom we are to get to know is Raphael who is the angel
or messenger of God who brings healing to Sarah the unfortunate would be
bride of many suitors; they all die! But you must read the story for
yourself since our lectionary readings from Tobit will abruptly stop
tomorrow because of the approach of Ash Wednesday and Lent.

Today we zero in on the tense episode in the life of Tobit and his unnamed
wife, Mrs. Tobit. She comes out more as wholesome and righteous in the
scene that we are privy to. Humor helps us get through the drama with a
smile on our face. Tobit is brought back to his senses by an honest and
trustworthy wife. She has earned some extra income through her hard work
and is even rewarded with a goat. Tobit hears its bleating and asks her
about how she got this goat presuming that she stole it. He rashes judges
her even though he is first presented as a pious and holy Israelite. Then
he displays his anger and continues to believe she has stolen the goat.
Though he is scrupulous, he is also lacking good judgment and trust in
others especially his wife. Little things often create some of the biggest
quarrels in family life in our experiences but also in those who are long
past and only remembered as people with similar family squabbles–even in
the holy Bible or even in the deuterocanonical book of the Bible. Some
Bible readers are unaware of these deuterocanonical works and thus miss the
humor and adventure so characteristic of real life. Tobit, of course, has
missed the bigger picture and caused the irruption of peace with his wife,
Mrs. Tobit.

Mrs. Tobit is not a weak woman. She gives it right back to the
unjustifiable words and behavior of pious Tobit. She does this in rapid
fire with a few questions and then a powerful closer: “Where are your
charitable deeds now, Mr. Tobit? Where are your virtuous acts? Your true
character is finally showing itself!” Harrumph!

Our Psalm centers on Tobit but should be focused on Mrs. Tobit who is the
righteous one in this scene. She is industrious, honest, and clearly right
and outspoken in her rejoinder. Perhaps, we need this comic relief before
the onslaught of Mardi Gras and the approach of Lent. Amen.

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