“When the parents had gone out and shut the door of the room, Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah, ‘Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and safety.’ So she got up, and they began to pray.” (Tobit 8:4-5)
Archangel Raphael persuaded Tobias to marry Sarah saying that by so doing, he would be the one to inherit all of Raguel’s property. And lo and behold, without wasting time, the marriage was done that very day.
It is quite touching to know that despite the partying, the drinking, the dancing, the fun and all of what goes along with feasting, Tobias did not forget to pray. You see, most of us only remember to pray in moments of sorrow and pain. When things seem good enough, we simply switch off our prayer alarm.
Imagine what would have happened if Tobias, like Sarah’s previous husbands did not go down on his knees to pray that night? If we must pray when our eyes are red with tears, then let us never forget to pray when our eyes are red with alcohol, laughter and merriment because not all that glitters is gold.
Even in moments of celebration, it is not all those who come around to laugh with you and cheer you up that are really there for your good. In short, we can never do without prayer. Prayer is the key!
In our Gospel Passage, a scribe came to Jesus to ask which commandment is the first of all. In his response, Jesus mentioned two commandments: to love God with all our heart, mind, strength and soul and to love our neighbours as ourselves. The fact that Jesus mentioned two commandments instead of one, goes to show that it is impossible to love God without also loving our neighbours and when we love our neighbours, we are also loving God.
Whatever good you do to others, do no worry whether or not they would appreciate it or pay you back, just know that you are doing it to God. Often, many assume that the only way to express their love for God is by spending long hours in the church or sleeping in front of the Blessed Sacrament. You can also express your love for God by removing tears from the eyes of your humans who are suffering.
According to the Scribe, loving God and loving our neighbours is more important than burnt offerings (that is, more important than tithes and seed sowing, etc.). And in response, Jesus told the scribe that he is not far from the kingdom of God. As Jesus would say: if you are offering your gift at the altar and remember that your brother has a quarrel against you, go and settle it first before coming to render your offertory. The worship that God desires from us is simple – to love our neighbours as ourselves.
Finally, we remember St. Charles Lwanga and 22 others who were brutally murdered for their refusal of the homosexual demands of the Bagandan ruler, Mwanga. The lives of the saints remain an inspiration to us always.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, even in moments of joy, may I never forget to pray. Amen.
Bible Study: Tobit 6:10-11,7:9-14,8:4-9, Psalm 128 and Mark 12:28-34).