Recently the daily Mass readings were large portions of the book of Tobit. They serve as a great reminder that God walks with us in everything we do.
Despite being exiled to Nineveh, Tobit strived to follow God’s commandments. Tithing, giving alms, and burying the dead were a way of life for him. He did not think about the consequences of his actions; he did it to honor God. However, Tobit was imprisoned for his good deeds and when he was eventually released, he ended up going blind. Even then he did not curse God or ask ‘why me?’ Instead he prayed to the merciful God he believed in, and asked for death so as to be spared the grief that overwhelmed him. God did, indeed, hear his prayer and he answered it, just not the way Tobit requested. How many times have we asked God for something, only for the prayer to be answered at a later point in time and totally not the way we expected?
As Tobit prepared for his death, he sent his son Tobiah to retrieve his inheritance. To make the journey safely, Tobiah found a fellow kinsman to lead him; in actuality it was God’s angel, Raphael. While we may not always have an angel visible to us in our time of need, they are no less present to us than Raphael was to Tobiah. It was through Raphael’s prompting that God’s will was accomplished: Tobiah married and was blessed with the wealth of his in-laws, the health of his wife, and the medicine to cure his father’s blindness. When Raphael reveals his true identity to Tobit and Tobiah, he brings to light Tobit’s prayer, not just for death to release him from his misery, but for each person he prayed over when he buried them. God heard all his prayers.
“So continue to thank him every day; praise him with song.” (Tobit 12:18) Raphael gives God the glory in the events that unfolded that did indeed take away Tobit’s misery, not by bringing him death, but by granting him life with a son, a daughter-in-law, and seven grandsons. Let us remember to thank God for walking with us daily, for hearing our prayers and answering them the way He wills. God gives us everything; let us joyfully share what He has blessed us with and think not that He will reward us, for He already has in what He has given us.