Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and companions, martyrs
(Tobit 3:1-11a.16-17a; Mark 12:18-27)
The sixteen year-old was in deep trouble. He had broken a law and feared being punished. Unfortunately, he had isolated himself from peers. Although he sometimes talked with teachers, evidently they were not available during his crisis. Rather than face up to what he did, he threw himself in front of a train. Today’s long first reading describes Tobit and Sara as being similarly depressed.
Like the tragic youth, Tobit is liable to be pursued by the authorities. Moreover, he has contracted a condition of blindness and in his misery has alienated his wife. He will not kill himself but prays to God to end his life. Sarah’s condition of having seven husbands expire on her marriage bed sounds far-fetched. But certainly many forlorn lovers have contemplated suicide. She too remembers the Lord in her distress. The story unfolds as melodrama with God sending an angel to aid in response to their anguished pleas.
Perhaps when we are tried, we will not find an angel at the door to help us. But our prayer will not go unheeded. Like Tobit we will come to a better understanding of how our sinfulness has brought us to where we are. More importantly, our world will not end. We can count on God to resolve our predicament in His merciful love.