1) As they drew near to Kaserin,
which is opposite Nineveh, 2) Raphael
said: “You know how we left your father. 3)
Let us hurry on ahead of your wife to prepare the house while they are
still on the way.” 4) So both went on ahead
together, and Raphael said to him, “Take the gall in your hand!” And the dog
ran along behind them.
COMMENTARY: Two on foot can travel faster than a whole
caravan of flocks, carts and heavy goods on camels.
5) Meanwhile, Anna sat
watching the road by which her son was to come. 6) When
she saw him coming, she called to his father, “Look, your son is coming, and
the man who traveled with him!”
COMMENTARY: So Anna’s vigil wasn’t entirely
pointless. And it does my heart good to
think of her relief!
said to Tobiah before he came near to his father: “I know that his eyes will be
opened. 8) Apply the fish gall to his eyes, and
the medicine will make the white scales shrink and peel off from his eyes; then
your father will have sight again and will see the light of day.”
COMMENTARY: I commented before on how one of the lessons
is that a healing from a miracle or a healing from science both come from God,
Who makes both science and miracles. But
I should also mention another lesson—that whoever brings us useful information
acts as an angel from the divine.
Teaching is an angelic act.
A friend once gave me a vial o
water from Lourdes, a place which we Catholics believe has been blessed with
miraculous healing powers. I took a few
drops with a firm resolve to accept whatever healing Jesus might wish to send
me. That same day I came across
information about chia seed and how, among its many benefits, it can reduce
inflammation, a factor in fibromyalgia and arthritis. And my pain became significantly less when I
started using it daily. Was it a
miracle? No. Was it a healing from God? Yes.
9) Then Anna ran
up to her son, embraced him, and said to him, “Now that I have seen you again,
son, I am ready to die!” And she sobbed aloud.
COMMENTARY: One could easily take this the wrong
way! But she means, “I have had the
happiest moment of my lie; I cannot imagine anything happier than this. So if I die now, I will have counted my life
10) Tobit got up and stumbled out through the courtyard gate
to meet his son. Tobiah went up to him 11)
with the fish gall in his hand and blew into his eyes. Holding him
firmly, he said, “Courage, father.” Then he applied the medicine to his eyes,
and it made them sting. 12 , 13) Tobiah used both hands to peel the
white scales from the corners of his eyes. Tobit saw his son and threw his arms
COMMENTARY: Very realistic, even
graphic! But also symbolic. How often what opens our eyes stings! But if we take up our courage and go through
to the end, we become so much happier for having gone through the ordeal! Blessed are those brave enough to endure the
pain of learning to see clearly.
14) Weeping, he exclaimed, “I can see you,
son, the light of my eyes!” Then he prayed,
“Blessed be God,
blessed be his great name,
and blessed be all his holy angels.
May his great name be with us,
and blessed be all the angels throughout all the ages.
COMMENTARY: It’s always an excellent idea to give thanks
for every blessing that we receive. God
does not depend upon our gratitude, nor is He so fragile that He cannot abide
our overlooking opportunities to give thanks, but it’s good for us, and He
loves whatever does us benefit. The more
one gives thanks, the more attuned one becomes to things and events worthy of
The opposite of gratitude is
entitlement. Tobit could have said, “Well,
it’s about time! I never deserved to go
blind in the first place. I’m not going
to thank you for correcting a mistake!
You were just doing your job.”
Aside from being untrue, people who never thank others for “just doing
their job” lead miserable lives.
Believing themselves entitled to everything, they appreciate
nothing. They understand only “normal”
(by which they mean they get whatever they want) and “disappointing” (by which
they mean they don’t.) They never feel
the peaks of joy, because they expect one solid, flat mesa.
Why do I call this untrue? Think what would have happened if Tobit had
not gone blind. He would have picked up
his money as soon as the roads became open, which would have been years before
Tobiah reached marriageable age. He
would not look for any bride for his son, nor would Sarah be old enough to
consider. And he would, after that, have
no reason to return to that city again.
So when Sarah grew old enough to draw the attention of Asmodius, Tobiah
would by then already have been married to the wrong wife. Sarah would have died unwed. And who knows? Maybe Tobiah would have dragged on through an
ill-fitting marriage, wondering why something never quite felt right.
How often our sufferings put us
in the right place, at the right time, for the right thing to happen!
15) God it was who
and God who has had mercy on me.
Now I see my son Tobiah!”
Then Tobit went back in, rejoicing and
praising God with full voice. Tobiah related to his father how his journey had
been a success; that he had brought back the money; and that he had married
Raguel’s daughter Sarah, who was about to arrive, for she was near the gate of
COMMENTARY: Tobit praises God even when he thinks that
nothing comes of this except a return to normal. But then he discovers that he has still more
reason to thank God, and that he has come out ahead.
16) Rejoicing and
blessing God, Tobit went out to the gate of Nineveh to meet his
daughter-in-law. When the people of Nineveh saw him coming, walking along
briskly, with no one leading him by the hand, they were amazed. 17) Before them all Tobit proclaimed how
God had shown mercy to him and opened his eyes. When Tobit came up to Sarah,
the wife of his son Tobiah, he blessed her and said: “Welcome, my daughter!
Blessed be your God for bringing you to us, daughter! Blessed are your father
and your mother. Blessed be my son Tobiah, and blessed be you, daughter!
Welcome to your home with blessing and joy. Come in, daughter!” That day there
was joy for all the Jews who lived in Nineveh.
COMMENTARY: It’s always a good
idea to let other people know when you’ve enjoyed a great blessing, especially
after hardship. It gives people
hope. That is one of several good
reasons why, if you get a miraculous healing, you should go immediately to a
doctor and obtain proof, so that others might believe and take heart.
and his nephew Nadin were also on hand to rejoice with Tobit. Tobiah’s
wedding feast was celebrated with joy for seven days, and many gifts were given
COMMENTARY: So here we have yet another wedding
celebration, for seven more days! It’s a
good thing that clothing at the time was loose and adjustable!
you will recall, took care of Tobit’s family financially when he could. (Earlier you will find it spelled “Ahikar”
when I took the scriptures from a different translation. But that website had so many ads on it that
it was nigh impossible to navigate, so I switched to what turned out to be a
better source.) Remember his nephew Nadin. These men will matter later on, for the story
hasn’t quite finished yet.