Tobit 3:1-11, 16-17
Mark 12: 18-27


Indeed God does write straight with crooked lines! If ever there was a story in the scriptures that could be made into a mini-series, this is that story! The book of Tobit is part of the Catholic canon of holy scripture but, although it is a Hebrew story, it is not part of the Jewish canon. This dramatic story tells us of how God tests people who want to follow his word. It also shows how God protects the people of the Covenant.

There are two families:

Tobit lives in the place of exile Nineveh which is Mosul I modern Iraq. Tobit looks after others in trouble. After his work of mercy burying the dead, he rests under a tree and is blinded by bird dung. His life becomes very troubled.  Short of money he sends his son Tobias to recover a loan from a relative. Enter archangel Raphael, who guides Tobias to Ekbatana and Sarah!  The demon Asmodeus, who lusts after the lovely Sarah, has killed 7 of her suitors on their wedding night. Doomed never to have a child she is in the depths of despair.

The liturgy today invites us into this amazing story of death and sadness and healing – Tobit groping in poverty and Sarah lost in hopelessness. Raphael, the angel of healing, guides Tobias to Sarah, who has lost 7 husbands before ever consummating her marriage. The demon Asmodeus who lusts after Sarah and kills off all her 7 husbands on their wedding night, has his evil power broken, and Sarah and Tobias are blessed as husband and wife. Raphael leads them back to Nineveh and to Tobit, whose sight is restored.  God writes straight with crooked lines!!

The gospel brings us to the Sadducees, anti- resurrection wing of Judaism, who come to Jesus with the unlikely story of the woman who has had 7 husbands, but none gave her an heir. Who will she belong to in paradise? Jesus simply tells them and tells us that we do not know the reality of life in God that carries us beyond death. We cannot place our limited ideas onto God because God is the God of the living not of the dead.

If we try to measure God by our limited understanding, we end up in nonsense. God is love. God cares for each of God’s children. Jesus is the living presence of God’s love who can work miracles. God’s provident love will see us through the toughest situations we must face. God does indeed write straight with crooked lines!

Fr. Kevin Dance CP is the vicar of the St.Brigid’s Retreat, Marrickville. He is very actively involved in ministries locally and at Passionist International where he served as the Executive Director for many years.