Wednesday, June 05, 2013

In You We Trust

In You We Trust

Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Memorial of Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr

By Colleen O'Sullivan

At that very time, the prayer of these two suppliants was heard in the glorious presence of Almighty God.  So Raphael was sent to heal them both:  to remove the cataracts from Tobit’s eyes, so that he might again see God’s sunlight; and to marry Raguel’s daughter Sarah to Tobit’s son Tobiah, and then drive the wicked demon Asmodeus from her.  (Tobit 3:16-17a)

In you I trust; let me not be put to shame, let not my enemies exult over me.  No one who waits for you shall be put to shame; those shall be put to shame who heedlessly break faith.  (Psalm 25:2-3)

Jesus said to (the Sadducees), “Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?  When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven.  As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’  He is not God of the dead but of the living.  You are greatly misled.”   (Mark 10:35-37)


“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”  (Julian of Norwich)


We hear a lot about them, but the Pharisees weren’t Jesus’ only enemies.  Today we read about the Sadducees baiting him.  The Sadducees didn’t believe in life after death, so they concocted a ridiculous story to try and show Jesus up.  If a woman had been married, widowed, and remarried numerous times, according to Mosaic law, which husband would she be married to at the resurrection?  You can almost hear them laughing, high-fiving and saying, “There, we’ve got him now!”  

But Jesus tells them their question is totally irrelevant.  Life after death is going to be quite different from life here on earth.  People won’t be getting married or worrying about all the other things you and I worry about here.  We’ll be like the angels.  Then he goes on to tell the Sadducees that they need to reread the Scriptures.  When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-6), he spoke in the present tense - I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  God is the God of the living.  There is life after death.  Jesus tells the Sadducees they are misled and on the wrong track entirely.  Life after death will be different from life here.  There will be no more trials and tribulation, no more tears, no more sadness, no more dying.   

The characters in the first reading certainly know about suffering on this side of death.  Tobit is a Job-like character, who’s exiled in Nineveh, castigated by his wife, blind, and so depressed that he wishes he could die.  His future daughter-in-law, Sarah, has also known more than her share of tragedy.  She’s been married seven times, but a demon always manages to kill each bridegroom before the marriage can be consummated.  Her own maid accuses her of murdering them all.  Sarah is at the end of what she can take and she would like to die, too.  Today’s reading comprises each one’s prayer to God for help.  And we are told that God responds to their trust by sending the angel Raphael to heal the painful situations in their lives.  (If you have an hour or so, it’s worth taking the time to read the entire story.)

What ties all this together for me is our trust in God.  We trust that God is good, that God has each of us here for a purpose, that God loves us, suffers with us in our sorrows and listens to our heartfelt prayers.  We trust that God is the God of the living and that the life we know here is only the beginning, that death is not an ending but a transition from our life on earth to a better, eternal life with God.


How easy or difficult is it for you to trust in God?  Think of one thing with which you are struggling and entrust it to God in prayer.  Be honest as Tobit and Sarah were honest.  God isn’t interested in us putting a good face on anything; God would like us to share our deepest feelings and fears with him.  Be totally honest, even if this is something you wouldn’t share with another living, breathing soul.  You don’t have to; entrusting God with it is enough.
When you’ve looked within, be aware that everyone has burdens in this life and that we, as Christians, are asked to reach out to one another in love.  You may only have to look as far as your family, your immediate circle of friends, or your neighborhood to find someone who could use your help or support with something.

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