God’s Generous Accompaniment and Healing, Ninth Saturday (I), June 6, 2015

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Church of Sant’Onofrio, Rome
Pilgrimage for US Journalists to Rome
Saturday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
June 6, 2015
Tob 12:1.5-15.20, Tob 13:2.6-8, Mk 12:38-44

 

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below:

 

 

The following points were attempted in today’s homily:

  • As we begin our pilgrimage together, there are several things in Sacred Scripture to orient us.
  • The Book of Tobit is an allegorical book containing two essential lessons. The first is about healing, and specifically healing those who were virtuous in order to bring them to greater faith. We see this in the healing of Tobit of his blindness and the healing of Sarah in her capacity for marital love. The Archangel Raphael is the humble, quiet protagonist of God’s merciful medicine. His name literally means “God heals” or “Healing of God,” and we’ve seen throughout our meditation on this work this week how God brought about his healing in each of them. The second aspect of this book is how the Archangel Raphael, pretending to be a human being with experience on the route, accompanied Tobit’s son and Sarah’s eventual husband Tobias on his journey to Media to retrieve the fortune Tobit had left there. We could say he was Tobias’ guide on the pilgrimage, safely leading him back and forth, helping him find love, and helping him become a cooperator with God in the healing of both his wife and his father.
  • At the beginning of this pilgrimage — which is meant to help us on the pilgrimage of life toward the celestial Jerusalem — we can ponder both of these elements: the type of healing God knows that we need, not to go necessarily from evil to saint, from deathly ill to perfect health, but for many of us decent to good and good to better. The second thing we can learn is how God wishes to accompany us throughout the journey. We may not be any more aware of his companionship than Tobias was, but the same God will be here for us, not necessarily through Tobias but for the angels he has marked out to help each of us. And the prayers we have made to God before coming here, the prayers that perhaps we made long ago, would have been brought by our own angels before God’s throne, and what God wishes to give us here may be a long-awaited response to prayers we made well before.
  • In the Gospel Jesus teaches us another lesson in a contrast between the scribes and the poor widow that he made in the Temple portico. Many of the scribes were doing things for show, going through the external motions, looking for greetings, for honor, and who were reciting prayers for pretexts in order to make the types of friendships that they would be able to exploit to take advantage of others. There’s a temptation for us likewise to go through the motions on the outside, not to have our heart in it, to see how this time of prayer, this pilgrimage, can help us get ahead in this world rather than in our journey with others toward the one thing that really lasts and matters. In contrast to them, Jesus shows the widow who put in her two lepta, worth combined 2/3 of a penny, and it was her generosity that Jesus praised and that we recall 2,000 years later. She was all in. That’s a beautiful way to respond to God. That’s a great way to respond to this gift of time away, to be with him and to be with others. We may have less than two lepta, but what we have, we give. Tomorrow we’ll celebrate Corpus Christi and we can recall how the miracle that pointed to what Jesus gives us in the Eucharist began with a young boys’ five loaves and two fish. But God would like us to give generously, because it’s through that generosity, it’s through that openness, that we open ourselves to receive his generosity in return.
  • So today as we approach this altar, we do so with gratitude and faith. We do so seeking healing and we come to the source that St. Ignatius of Antioch, killed in this city in 107, called “The Medicine of Immortality.” We do so seeking accompaniment as we come to the one who promised, “I will be with you always until the end of the age.” We do so offering ourselves generously to the Lord who loved us enough to give himself totally to us in his Body and Blood under sacramental signs.

The readings for today’s Mass were:

Reading 1 TB 12:1, 5-15, 20

Tobit called his son Tobiah and said to him,
“Son, see to it that you give what is due to the man
who made the journey with you; give him a bonus too.”
So he called Raphael and said,
“Take as your wages half of all that you have brought back,
and go in peace.”

Raphael called the two men aside privately and said to them:
“Thank God! Give him the praise and the glory.
Before all the living,
acknowledge the many good things he has done for you,
by blessing and extolling his name in song.
Honor and proclaim God’s deeds,
and do not be slack in praising him.
A king’s secret it is prudent to keep,
but the works of God are to be declared and made known.
Praise them with due honor.
Do good, and evil will not find its way to you.
Prayer and fasting are good,
but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness.
A little with righteousness is better than abundance with wickedness.
It is better to give alms than to store up gold;
for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin.
Those who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life;
but those habitually guilty of sin are their own worst enemies.

“I will now tell you the whole truth;
I will conceal nothing at all from you.
I have already said to you,
‘A king’s secret it is prudent to keep,
but the works of God are to be made known with due honor.’
I can now tell you that when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed,
it was I who presented and read the record of your prayer
before the Glory of the Lord;
and I did the same thing when you used to bury the dead.
When you did not hesitate to get up
and leave your dinner in order to go and bury the dead,
I was sent to put you to the test.
At the same time, however,
God commissioned me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah.
I am Raphael, one of the seven angels
who enter and serve before the Glory of the Lord.”

“So now get up from the ground and praise God.
Behold, I am about to ascend to him who sent me;
write down all these things that have happened to you.”

Responsorial Psalm TB 13:2, 6EFGH, 7, 8

R. (1b) Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
He scourges and then has mercy;
he casts down to the depths of the nether world,
and he brings up from the great abyss.
No one can escape his hand.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
So now consider what he has done for you,
and praise him with full voice.
Bless the Lord of righteousness,
and exalt the King of ages.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
In the land of my exile I praise him
and show his power and majesty to a sinful nation.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
Bless the Lord, all you his chosen ones,
and may all of you praise his majesty.
Celebrate days of gladness, and give him praise.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.

Alleluia MT 5:3

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 12:38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said,
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext,
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”

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