9th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, June 1
Tobit 2:9-14 / Mark 12:13-17
Tobit and his wife quarrel; Tobit misjudged his wife.
As sometimes happens, the harder people try to be loyal to God, the more misfortune seems to strike them. This happened to Tobit; he became blind.
Fortunately, his wife was able to pick up the slack and get a job. She was treated extremely well by those for whom she wove cloth. She even received a goat as a bonus, something Tobit found impossible to believe. Like so many of us, he let his fears take over and began to doubt his wife's integrity. She struck back at her blind husband, saying things she didn't really mean. The bitterness between Tobit and Anna is not unlike that found in many homes today.
How do we handle rash judgments and false accusations, especially when they are made by loved ones? Jesus said, "Stop judging and you will not be judged. Forgive and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37
We are shown today a man who, like Job, keeps trusting in God, even when he suffers. Tobias becomes blind and stands the ridicule of his wife and his neighbours, who taunt him by asking how all his good deeds have benefited him.
Distress and turmoil have no respect for anyone, not even people of faith. Especially for those who have a firm belief in God, their faith will be tested in the distress and turmoil of life. In the 1st reading, we heard about how Tobit, a man of deep faith, had his share of distress and tribulations in life. He became blind by a freak accident and he had to depend on the generosity of others. Also when he wrongly accused his wife of stealing a lamb, Anna, his wife also retaliated by scorning his faith and good works.
Such are the trials and turmoil that all will have to go through, and that includes people of faith and who believe and trust in God. Even for Jesus who came to love people and do good, the chief priests and scribes and elders sent the Pharisees to question Jesus about paying taxes, with the intention to catch Him on something that He says. Jesus could have felt disgusted by all that scheming and plotting but He turned it into an opportunity to teach the people and it also left His questioners baffled.
So in the face of distress and turmoil, we need to ask ourselves: What can ever separate us from the love of God? (Romans 8:35)
If God is for us who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) Or what can ever be against us? Distress? Turmoil? We belong to God. Let us keep faith in Him and fight the good fight of faith.
But how they missed the point! For, beneath the external simplicity of the statement lay a deeper truth. Had they really understood the implications of what Jesus said, they would have been stunned into silence. For, if we give to God what truly belongs to God, then what is left for Caesar? Dorothy Day answers: “When you give to God what belongs to God, there is nothing left for Caesar.” David knew it: “Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours…. Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand (see 1 Chr. 29:10-14). The Psalmist sings: “The earth belongs to the Lord, and everything in it—the world and all its people” (Ps. 24.1).
Do I give to God everything that belongs to Him, or do I claim anything as my own?