Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tuesday word, 05 Jun 2007

St. Boniface, martyr, bishop (05 Jun 2007) Tb 2. 9-14; Ps 112; Mk 12. 13-17
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
True Colors

In this second chapter of the Book of Tobit we heard that Tobit became blinded by white scales and that his loss of sight heightened his strict sense of honesty until it fomented a marital argument. Their argument prepares the way for Tobit to pray for mercy and to praise God, which we will hear tomorrow. Divine intervention will unfold in the rest of the story.

For the moment we see Tobit in agony because of his blindness. He was not two-faced. Based on the truth, incomplete though it was, he would not waver from his honesty, though one imagine it easy to do in his agony.

The well-known encounter of Jesus and some devious Pharisees and some of Herod’s loyalists also revolved around honesty and hypocrisy. Jesus knew it would be hard to accept certain desires of God as one’s own--earlier prophets had learned that by experience. We can readily imagine Jesus’ frustration.

Our presence at the altars of God’s word and of God’s son, leads us to ask ourselves: do we show feelings or express beliefs we do not truly hold or possess? Does any of our praying seek to manipulate God instead of praising God and relying on God’s mercy?

Honest prayer, like any honest relationship, does not hide difficult feelings from God. No. Honest praying pours our hearts to God, even screaming if necessary. (None of needs help to do that, but some of us need permission to pray honestly, which is a virtue of the psalms.) When can any of us say we hid nothing from God?

The Pharisees and their allies in the gospel selection teach how not to come before God. Tobit models honesty about his feelings, even when they led to sharp words. He was a model of honest praying. One need not fear showing one’s true colors with God because God intervenes to transform them. St. Boniface recommended the proverb: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own prudence./1/
/1/ Proverbs 3.5. See the brief excerpt of his letter in the Office of Readings for his feast.

Wiki-image of St. Boniface baptising and being martyred is in the public domain.

No comments: