God’s “Galling” Healing of Our Blindness, Ninth Friday (I), June 5, 2015

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Sacred Heart Convent of the Sisters of Life, New York, NY
Friday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr
June 5, 2015
Tob 11:5-17, Ps 146, Mk 12:35-37


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


The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • The Book of Tobit on which we’ve been meditating all week is about God’s healing. The quiet hero of the book is the Archangel Raphael, whose name means “The Healing of God.” We see in the book how God heals both Sarah, as we saw yesterday, and Tobit as we see today. He heals them after some suffering, to perfect them who were already good and virtuous. We see the particularly “galling” way Tobit was healed in today’s Gospel, by his son’s smearing his cataracted eyes with gall from a fish who had bit him, the same fish that had supplied the heart and liver that was burned to heal Sarah and Tobias from the wiles of the pagan god of lust in this allegory. There’s a clear sacramental allusion in this healing by something a little gross, much like Jesus would later heal someone of blindness by wiping saliva on his eyes. As soon as Tobit was cured, he rejoiced that he could see his son. He could in fact see much more clearly than he did before he was blinded four years earlier by bird droppings. His vision had been enriched by faith.
  • We see Jesus seeking to do a similar healing in the Gospel. He was trying to help the scribes and those around him in the Temple see what God the Father had revealed to St. Peter at Caesarea Philippi, that the Messiah would also be God. That’s what was happening in Jesus’ question, that David who traditionally is understood to be the one who composed Psalm 110 which Jesus quotes, would call the Messiah — who would be his descendent according to the flesh — “Lord.” That’s precisely who Jesus was, not merely David’s descendent according to the flesh, but also his Lord and Creator. Jesus was opening the eyes of the minds of his contemporaries to a much deeper understanding of who the Messiah is, to help them to be able to embrace better what was coming.
  • Helping others to see much more clearly, curing people’s blindness, summarizes likewise the life of St. Boniface. As a young monk, he was an incredible Scripture professor, opening others to see God and themselves in the mirror of the Word of God. Later, when he started to get inklings that he would be made either an abbot or a bishop, he asked for permission to become a missionary in the wild regions of central Germany, so that he could bring them to see by the light of faith. In addition to that pure missionary work bringing whole territories to the Gospel, he likewise reformed the previously evangelized areas in southern Germany and the Church in what we would now call France through Synods and Councils. He helped those who previously had been baptized to see the consequences of living by the light of faith.
  • And today, two days before the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, God wants to open our eyes to see the Eucharist not routinely but with a new vision, especially in terms of how we are called to center our whole life on Jesus whom we receive, to become living walking monstrances carrying God within out to the streets here of Manhattan. St. Ignatius of Antioch called Jesus in the Eucharist “the medicine of immortality.” This is the greatest source of God’s healing, which he places not our our eyes but within us to heal not just our vision but so much more, making it possible for us to become the “gall” that can go out, attached to Him and all his healing power, to help others to see anew as well.


The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 TB 11:5-17

Anna sat watching the road by which her son was to come.
When she saw him coming, she exclaimed to his father,
“Tobit, your son is coming, and the man who traveled with him!”
Raphael said to Tobiah before he reached his father:
“I am certain that his eyes will be opened.
Smear the fish gall on them.
This medicine will make the cataracts shrink and peel off from his eyes;
then your father will again be able to see the light of day.”Then Anna ran up to her son, threw her arms around him,
and said to him,
“Now that I have seen you again, son, I am ready to die!”
And she sobbed aloud.Tobit got up and stumbled out through the courtyard gate.
Tobiah went up to him with the fish gall in his hand,
and holding him firmly, blew into his eyes.
“Courage, father,” he said.
Next he smeared the medicine on his eyes, and it made them smart.
Then, beginning at the corners of Tobit’s eyes,
Tobiah used both hands to peel off the cataracts.

When Tobit saw his son, he threw his arms around him and wept.
He exclaimed, “I can see you, son, the light of my eyes!”
Then he said:

“Blessed be God,
and praised be his great name,
and blessed be all his holy angels.
May his holy name be praised
throughout all the ages,
Because it was he who scourged me,
and it is he who has had mercy on me.
Behold, I now see my son Tobiah!”

Then Tobit went back in, rejoicing and praising God with full voice
for everything that had happened.
Tobiah told his father that
the Lord God had granted him a successful journey;
that he had brought back the money;
and that he had married Raguel’s daughter Sarah,
who would arrive shortly,
for she was approaching the gate of Nineveh.

Tobit and Anna rejoiced
and went out to the gate of Nineveh
to meet their daughter-in-law.
When the people of Nineveh saw Tobit walking along briskly,
with no one leading him by the hand, they were amazed.
Before them all Tobit proclaimed
how God had mercifully restored sight to his eyes.
When Tobit reached Sarah, the wife of his son Tobiah,
he greeted her: “Welcome, my daughter!
Blessed be your God for bringing you to us, daughter!
Blessed is your father, and blessed is my son Tobiah,
and blessed are you, daughter!
Welcome to your home with blessing and joy.
Come in, daughter!”
That day there was joy for all the Jews who lived in Nineveh.

Responsorial Psalm PS 146:1B-2, 6C-7, 8-9A, 9BC-10

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts
The LORD shall reign forever,
your God, O Zion, through all generations! Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia JN 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 12:35-37

As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said,
“How do the scribes claim that the Christ is the son of David?
David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said:The Lord said to my lord,
‘Sit at my right hand
until I place your enemies under your feet.’
David himself calls him ‘lord’;
so how is he his son?”
The great crowd heard this with delight.