Once again, the reading from Tobit is made up of excerpts from chapters six, seven, and eight. The framers of the Lectionary for Daily Mass put together the story of Tobiah’s marriage to Sarah, who had been married to seven men, all of whom had died at the hands of an evil spirit. The lectionary story does not tell us that Raguel was convinced that Tobiah would also die at the hands of the evil spirit and had the servants dig a grave for him as soon as he took his bride to bed. However, the two pray together and ask God to keep them safe and to bless them with children. Tobiah was able to drive of the evil spirit with the help of the Archangel Raphael.
This reading is paired with the familiar story from the Gospels about the greatest commandments. Tobiah offers us an example of a man who has put God first in his life. Tobiah’s love for God is evident in his behavior throughout the Book of Tobit. He has properly ordered his heart to love God and to love his neighbor.
Today we celebrate the martyrdom of twenty-two young men from the court of King Mwanga II. His father had invited missionaries to Uganda from both the Anglican and the Roman Catholic mission societies of Great Britain. In addition to the twenty-two Catholic martyrs that we celebrate today, twenty-three Anglican men were also killed. Their deaths give witness to the Christian faith in Uganda. These young men were all converts to the Christian faith. Yet they had grown so stalwart in the faith that they were able to die for it. Their love for God and for the faith stands as yet another example of the two great commandments.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator