9th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, June 3
Tobit 6:10-11; 7:1, 9-14; 8:4-9 / Mark 11:5-17
Tobiah and Sarah pray together: They asked God to bless their marriage.
What role does prayer play in our own preparation for marriage? In our own marriage? Do we pray together with our own family? "Lord, place your hand on his shoulder. Whisper your voice in his ear. Put your love in his heart. Help him fulfill your plan in his life." Anonymous, "Wife's Prayer for Her Husband"
The Bible is the word of God in human words. There is no other way in which God can speak to us and we can speak to God and about God than in the human words and in human ideas. That is how' God created us. We are never fully finished. We have to develop – that is one element in our dominion over this world. Our knowledge too develops, even our theology, our knowledge about God. It is good for us to recall: Even when we develop, we are the same that we were before, only better. The knowledge of God in us too develops. Our scientific understanding of nature develops. We express our thoughts with the concept of nature that we have at a particular stage of our development.
As the setting of Tobias is the time of the exile, marriage according to the Jewish law was very important, so as to avoid syncretism through mixed marriage. Hence, the marriage of young Tobias and his bride is presented as a beautiful marriage.
As there were so many rules of the Law to observe, it is easy to understand the desire of scribes to ask which was the key commandment. Twice a day pious Jews professed the “Hear, Israel,” with the love of God unique and very important. Jesus attaches to it love of neighbour too, as a total commitment that he will practice on the cross.
Whenever people say that a marriage is made in heaven, they are only saying one part. The other part is: so is lightning and thunder. For those who are married, they will certainly agree. Marriage has its share of lightning and thunder, regardless of whether the marriage is made in heaven or not. The prayer of Tobias in the 1st reading may have reminded some married couples that this was a reading that they chose for their wedding Mass. It may also remind them of another thing - in the run-up to their wedding and in the flurry of wedding preparations, did they say this prayer together.
The marriage of Tobias and Sarah may be made in heaven, even the angel Raphael was sent to bring them together, but surely there was lightning and thunder so much so that Tobias asked Sarah to pray together so that God will bring them to old age together. Surely for Tobias and Sarah, nothing was to be taken for granted, and more so for a life-long union in marriage, all the more God's blessings must be invoked.
If that is what it takes to keep a marriage together, then it would take no less to keep the commandment of love that Jesus stated in the gospel. To love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength, and to love our neighbour as ourselves, is certainly not possible without prayer.
But it is a commandment made in heaven, and there will be lightning and thunder in carrying it out. But angels will be sent to help us to fulfill it. We only need to pray and invoke God's blessings to accomplish it.
God our Father, you want your heart to be the measure of our love, but you are always greater than our heart. In this Eucharist, let your Son give us a heart of flesh in which burns a fire of love that cannot be extinguished, and that prompts us to follow him all the way to you and to all you have entrusted to us. We ask you this through Christ, our Lord. Amen