The first reading today is from the book of Tobit.
The first part of the reading is a prayer of lamentation from Tobit, stricken with blindness in his old age, which ends with these words:
“Let me go away to my everlasting home; do not turn your face from me. O Lord.
For it is better to die than still to live in the face of trouble that knows no pity; I am weary of hearing myself traduced.”
The second half of the reading is the prayer of Sarah, daughter of Raguel , who has a real serious situation where she has been married seven times and on the wedding night the demon Asmodeus killed each of her bridegrooms. She is thinking of hanging herself, but has second thoughts.
“I should do better not to hang myself, but to beg the Lord to let me die and not to live to hear any more insults.”
God heard their prayers and he send the angel Raphael to bring remedy to them both.
One commentator says that the narrative offers one of the great examples of angelophany in Scripture. The story is one of the most popular from the Old Testament as a model for simple, sincere and unflagging devotion to the Lord, the mercy of God and the strength of perseverance in the face of life’s troubles.
Interestingly this book is not part of the Protestant Canon of Scripture but is accepted by Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions.
Let us pray today for that gift of trust in the Lord’s overwhelming goodness and love of each of us.
We remember to all those who are in despair, that God will be close to them and that they experience his loving presence.