Tobit 2:9-14; The heart of the just one is firm; Mark 12:13-17
Why do bad things happen to Good people?
This could easily be the underlying theme of the first reading for today.
Tobit, our main character, is known for his virtuous deeds: faithful to worship, careful to tithe, gives alms to orphans, widows, and strangers, obeyed dietary laws, gave bread to the hungry, clothes the naked, and buries the dead.
Here is a man that was overcome with charity for his neighbor and truly devoted to God.
In the midst of these good deeds, he finds himself blind. Why? Because he was busy burying the dead and that same night after doing a noble deed, he sleeps near a wall only to have bird droppings fall into his eyes and cause blindness.
The tables are turned and his wife has become the bread winner, working and slaving to provide and care for her husband.
Tensions and frustrations mount. Words are exchanged between man and wife and they are not pretty, all because of a goat, though not really. So much more is going on in the first reading, so many silent underlying issues of distrust, agitation, frustration, and the inability to communicate all these things clearly.
In the gospel, Jesus has words with the pharisees, the religious elite. It is always kind of funny listening to the pharisees talk down to Jesus about devotion to God. They are making fun of the SOn of God himself. It is very humorous indeed.
The Pharisees are haggling with JEsus over political and religious issues. It is nice to know that some things never change.
All the readings deal with particular vantage points.
Each figure in today's readings have their own vantage point or perspective and they each think theirs is the vantage point: Tobit from the his vantage point of being helpless because of his blindness. Anna, Tobit's wife, vantage point is one of being under appreciated and not trusted, the Pharisees in the vantage point of thinking they are correct and have the best understanding of the law and the teachings of the Mosaic covenant, then of course their is Jesus, whose vantage point can be summed up by the pharisees themselves, "teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone's opinion. You do not regard a person's status but teach the way of God in accordance with truth."
we each have our own vantage point. We each think the best of our vantage point as well. But, we must remember as good as our vantage point is, it is not God's.
This should be relief for us. This should bring us peace and harmony. This should help us relax when circumstances are overwhelming, out of control, and beyond our comprehension. They are never beyond God's comprehension, or God's vantage point.