What a contrast in mindset there is in the protagonists in today’s Scriptures! In the first reading, blind Tobit and grieving Sarah spend their days pouring out their hearts to God in an anguish that mirrors the anguish of their exiled Jewish people. Both are resigned to death as an end to their misery, as Tobit prays:
It is better for me to die than to live,
because I have heard insulting calumnies,
and I am overwhelmed with grief.
Sarah considers suicide after being ridiculed for her inability to keep a husband. All of her husbands had died. And then Sarah remembers her elderly father and the distress and ridicule her suicide would cause him. So, she turns her heart to God, and prays:
Blessed are you, O Lord, merciful God,
and blessed is your holy and honorable name.
Blessed are you in all your works forever!
God hears Tobit’s and Sarah’s prayers and sends the angel Raphael, whose name means “God heals”.
By contrast, in today’s Gospel reading we have the Sadducees, Jewish religious leaders who were spending their time thinking up trick questions to ask Jesus. They wanted to justify their disbelief in the resurrection of the dead; so, they asked a question that cannot be answered about a woman who was married seven times:
At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be?
For all seven had been married to her.
Jesus responds that they are misled because they do not know the power of God.
Today after Mass, I shared a meal with a young woman who has the mindset of Tobias and Sarah. Coming from an abusive family and coping with addiction; and currently exiled to a group home, she said she is ready to “take the 2nd Step”. She explained that she has started attending AA meetings, even though she is still drinking, because she “came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity” (second step of Alcoholics Anonymous). My new friend is coming to know the power of God, of which Jesus speaks, the God who sends healers into our lives when we humbly pray for help.
Patty Gillis is a retired Pastoral Minister. She served on the Board of Directors at St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center in Detroit. She is currently a member of the Laudato Si Vision Fulfillment Team and the Passionist Solidarity Network.