Thursday, June 04, 2009

The most romantic book of the Bible

Forget "Song of Songs." Pick up the book of "Tobit," which we are continuing to read this week at Mass. Too bad the liturgy experts cut out so much of the good stuff. Today's reading is the wedding of Tobiah and Sarah. But you don't hear what came before that: when the Archangel Raphael (disguised as the ordinary traveler Azariah) tells Tobiah about Sarah, "Tobiah fell so deeply in love with her that his heart was no longer his own."
The selection from Mass also skips over the funny parts. The backstory is that poor Sarah has walked down the aisle seven times, but all seven bridegrooms met their death at the hands of a meddlesome demon before they could so much as kiss the bride. So after escorting the couple to the bridal chamber, Sarah's father goes to the yard and digs a grave for Tobiah! When the newlyweds appear safe and sound the next morning, the grave is quickly filled in and hidden (with a bit of patio furniture?).
All the romance in the first reading sets the stage for the true heart of the Gospel, when Jesus tells us plainly that "the greatest commandment" is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, and your neighbor as your self."


Enbrethiliel said...


Oh, this is an excellent reflection! =D I had been wondering why we'd been reading Tobit last week and now I know. Thank you, Sr. Anne!

Julie D. said...

I think it did talk about the back story for Sarah last week though ... Tobit is one of my favorite books so I'm enjoying having it show up in the readings. :-)