6 June 2007. Wednesday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time
Tobit 3, 1-11a, 16-17a; Mark 12, 18-27 Prayers in Distress
There are three desperate characters in the readings today. Tobit anguishes over his blindness. Sarah, Raguel’s daughter, had 7 husbands who died before consummating the marriage with sexual intercourse, and the hypothetical woman in the Gospel who mirrors Sarah’s condition. In their anguish and distress, both Tobit and Sarah --- or even if any woman will be in the position of wife in the Gospel --- turned to God in prayer. Who among us, in some time of need and distress, has not called upon God for assistance? With the devotion to our Mother of Perpetual Help is that cry of distress from our hearts.
Tobit asked for healing. Sarah asked for deliverance from the demon, Asmodeus, who killed her seven husbands before intercourse. The book, Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2559) says, “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” Sa matinding pangangailangan, napapadasal tayo. We are brought to prayer by our cries for help. And when we pray, we raise our minds and heart to God.
How does this happen? When we unite our minds and hearts with someone, we do this by talking to them, spending time with them, sharing our thoughts, feelings, experiences, values, dreams with them. It also entails trust and openness. The more we spend time with them, the more we communicate and work with them, the more a closer relationship develops.
In a close relationship, we are happy just to be in the presence of that person whom we deeply love. They are the persons you want to be with in times of joy and they are the persons you want to comfort you in times of sorrow. Sometimes, you don’t have to articulate what you need --- or what they need --- for them to know that you need something.
The same way with God. When we raise our hearts to Him in prayer, His heart and ours become united that God knows our needs --- even before we kneel to pray. They said that the shortest distance to heaven is between your knees and the floor.
It is no wonder that the first reading ends with God sending an angel, Raphael, to cure Tobit’s cataracts ‘that he might see God’s sunlight again’ and to marry Sarah to Tobit’s son, Tobiah, by driving the demon away.
Because in the end, what matters is not whether one has misfortune or not. What matters is our relationship with God. That is why, in the resurrection, our status do not depend on human relationships (as married couples do), but on God’s. In heaven, we become brothers and sisters --- yes, our parents & grandparents become brothers and sisters to us; just as Jesus explained to us in the Gospel.