Tobiah, Jesus, Sarah & the Church – Jun 08 – Homily – Fr John Lawrence

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Fr John Lawrence gives the homily at Bloomington, IN on Jun 08, 2023, on how in the first reading the marriage of Sarah and Tobiah and the casting out of the demon that was harassing Sarah is representative of Jesus Christ and his saving role to his bride, the Church.

Tobiah's journey and his marriage to Sarah, were influenced by his obedience to Mosaic Law and divine providence. They travel southward from Nineveh, where Tobiah's encounter with a large fish, as instructed by Raphael, results in the retrieval of the fish's heart, liver, and gall. These would be used for healing and demon expulsion later, particularly from Sarah.

Following their travels, Tobiah and Sarah marry, keeping in line with the Law of Moses which calls for the closest kinsman to marry a widow left childless - [Deuteronomy 25: 5-6 - When brothers live together and one of them dies without a son, the widow shall not marry someone outside the family -]. Tobiah marries Sarah not only out of duty but also due to her wisdom, courage, and beauty. They abstain from consummating the marriage for three nights, praying to keep their intentions pure and thus preventing the demon's return.

Tobiah's survival of the first night of their marriage is celebrated by Raguel, Sarah's father, leading to a two-week-long celebration. Meanwhile, Raphael retrieves money for Tobiah, assuaging his parents' fears back in Nineveh. Upon their departure from Raguel, they bring along Sarah and half of her inheritance.

Saint Bede interprets the devouring fish as representing the devil. By grappling with it, Tobiah, prefiguring Christ, demonstrates humanity's struggle with evil - [1 Peter 5: 8 - Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour -]. The act of Tobiah saving Sarah is an echo of the Church's salvation through Christ - [Ephesians 1: 4 - God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world -]. Sarah's journey with Tobiah symbolizes our journey with Christ.

0:00 - Introduction
00:15 - Tobiah's Journey and Marriage to Sarah
02:06 - Details of Tobiah's Marriage, the Demon, and Spiritual Precautions
04:39 - Spiritual Interpretations of the Events
05:51 - Symbolic Representation of the Characters

Ave Maria!

Mass: Thursday 9th Week of Ordinary Time - Wkdy
Readings:  -
1st: tob 6:11, 7:1, 9-14, 8:4-7
Resp: psa 128:1-5
Gsp: mar 12:28-34

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