In today’s First Reading from the Book of Tobit, we have both Tobit and Sarah having some trouble.
Tobit, as we heard yesterday, has been blinded with cataracts and his quite frustrated about it, lashing out at his wife and her calling him own it – “where are your charitable deeds now–your true character is finally showing itself!”
We pick up the story today with Tobit realizing the error of his ways and calling out to God, aware of both his faults and the faults of all of the chosen people. He ends his prayer asking God to take life from him, since it’s better not to live than to live aware of his unworthiness.
Sarah’s problems come from this maid. Sarah had seven husbands die on her–who knows why–and the maid is continually insulting her. In the end, she too asks God to take her life from her than to live in such constant abuse.
They both put their grief and struggles into the hands of God.
While in their own spiritual dark nights, God took their grief and depression and raised them up–giving sight to Tobit, so he can live with renewed understanding of his action and driving the demons out of Sarah and allowing her to marry again.
Now, in the Gospel, we have something of the opposite. The Sadducces is questioning Jesus, with a veiled attack on Jesus’ foretold resurrection of the dead. They failed to acknowledge the power of God and are forcing their image of what the afterlife would be like on God. Won’t the next life just like this one?
No, Jesus responds, we’re destined to be like the angels. He’s reminding them, and us, that as God is the God of the living, we’re not bound to death nor of the bonds of this world. In heaven, we’ll all be in a true and pure relationship with one another–husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, best friends or enemies will all fade away as we enter into true relationship with one another with God in heaven.
In short, we must remember that we are not citizens of this world, but of heaven. We are not to put all of our faith and trust into things of this world, or what we understand of this world. We’re to leave in the hands of God our shortcomings, our doubts and our desires and have faith in his power to raise them up, as he will do to ourselves and the departed on the last day.