Tuesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
(Tobit 2:9-14; Mark 12:13-17)
Tobit tries to please God and to help his neighbor. Being more zealous than prudent, however, his sense of righteousness causes him to err. In the segment of his story today he accuses his hard-working wife of stealing. We can almost hear him cry out afterwards in remorse, “God, what a mess I make of everything. Why don’t you take my life?” Perhaps some of us, after committing similar blunders, have felt the same self-disgust.
As reckless as Tobit’s suspicions are, must Anna respond so bitterly? Does she need to criticize her husband for performing good deeds in the past? No, her words sting Tobit unjustifiably. She also has to control her emotions. A more prudent response in her case would be, “Take it easy, Tobit. I would never steal another person’s belongings.”
Neither Tobit nor Anna needs to despair, however. God hears the cries of those who call to him. Learning from them, we should curb the inclination to judge others harshly. It is a much safer practice to pray for the person we are impulsively tempted to criticize. And, if it turns out that our impulse to criticize was indeed wrong-headed, we can thank God for sparing us a situation where we would have acted foolishly.