Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs (9th Week in Ordinary Time)
Tobit 1:3; 2:1-8;Psalm 112:1-6; Mark 12:1-12
“Does he have no fear?” (Tobit 2:8)
The Book of Tobit tells the story of an Israelite living in the pagan city of Nineveh. Exiled to this foreign land, Tobit remains true to his God, his kinsmen, and his faith under extreme circumstances. Misfortune, however, strikes Tobit, and he becomes blind.
Even though he may have every reason to become bitter—after all, he had been blinded while risking his life to care for a fellow Jew—Tobit refuses to curse God. Despite all that has befallen him, he remains faithful. For this reason, Tobit is considered one of the great heroes of the Jewish tradition—a hero of faith who stands today as an example for all of us.
Our Catholic tradition is filled with all kinds of heroes and heroines of the faith. In our own age, there are people like Maximillian Kolbe, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Pope John Paul II. In earlier times, there were the martyrs like Polycarp and Perpetua and Felicity, reformers like Francis of Assisi and Teresa of Avila, and missionaries like Cyril and Methodius and Philippine Duchesne. And that’s not even mentioning the revered Doctors and Fathers of the Church!
It’s a wonderful thing to have so many models to look up to. But heroes don’t exist only among our great saints and our revered legends. Day in and day out, everyday men and women embrace the challenge of the gospel and pour themselves out for the Lord and his people. Think about the parents who devote themselves day in and day out to raising their children in the faith. Think about the priests and religious who put their lives in jeopardy preaching the gospel in mission territories. Think about the people who give their time counseling women in crisis pregnancies or feeding the hungry or sheltering the homeless.
God calls all of us to some form of heroism or another. Tobit was just another Jew in Nineveh, but he rose above the limitations of his surroundings and did great things for the Lord. We can do the same. Remember: all things are possible with God!
“Lord, I trust that you reward even the smallest things I do in your name. Help me rise to the challenges you will lay before me today. Lord, I want to be one of your heroes!”~WAU