Scripture Reading for Today: Tobit 12:1, 5-15, 20 (read it here)
All through the story, the angel Raphael conceals his identity from Tobit, his son Tobiah, and all the other characters in the narrative. Up to this point everyone thinks he is merely a human companion on Tobiah’s journey.
Secretly he has been guiding the fate of Tobit’s whole family. He has also been putting them to the test. Raphael had also recovered a large sum of money for Tobiah.
Now Tobit instructs his son to be generous with Raphael (known as Azariah) who has accompanied Tobiah back home. Originally, the agreed sum was a drachma a day plus expenses and a bonus. Tobiah, however, offers Raphael half of all the money that was brought back. This far exceeds the agreed upon sum.
Raphael calls Tobit and Tobiah aside and refuses to take any credit for what has happened. Assuming for the moment the role of a wise man, Raphael delivers an exhortation filled with wisdom sayings. Being an angel, he also affirms that true wisdom comes from God. Kingly secrets may be best kept so, but God’s works must be proclaimed.
The emphasis of Raphael’s exhortation is first on praising and giving thanks to God, a favorite theme of Israel’s wisdom literature. Prayer and fasting are encouraged, but the most important activity a person can undertake is that of “almsgiving accompanied by righteousness.” Almsgiving saves one from death and delivers one from sin.
Raphael also emphasizes that storing personal treasures bespeaks distrust of divine care. We see that Tobit has always embodied the practical wisdom that Raphael holds up for praise, especially almsgiving.
Finally, Raphael discloses his identity to Tobit and his son Tobiah. He lets them know that all along he has served as a mediator between them and God.
It was through his intercession that God was informed about Tobit’s faithful commitment to bury the dead. Raphael made intercession also for Sarah and her plight, healing her from demon possession as well as curing Tobit of blindness.
Not only that, but Raphael was also responsible for putting Tobit to the test. All these things have been possible because Raphael is actually one of the seven angels who serve God.
In the book of Enoch, they are called archangels. The only other angels named in the Bible are Gabriel and Michael.
Raphael’s final instruction is that all these events be written down. Guardian angels, such as Raphael here, later dovetailed into the idea of each person, and even nations, having a special protector.
In the Eucharist Christ comes among us and accompanies, defends, and leads us in our life journey.
Let us also perform acts of mercy.
Sustained by Mary, let us also be aware of the presence and guidance of angels in our lives.
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Que la palabra de Cristo habite y se sienta a gusto en ustedes (Col. 3:16)
Let us make this a blessed day.
Keep Jesus in your mind and heart and share him with all you meet.
Fr. Michael Brizio, IMC
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