“Grant that I may find mercy and may grow old together with her.”
A reading from the Book of Tobit (Tobit 6:9- 12; 7:1 cd.9- 12.1 6; 8: 1.4-9a)
In those days: when he entered Media and was already approaching Ecbatana, Raphael said to the young man, “Brother Tobias!” “Here I am,” he answered. Then Raphael said to him, “We must stay this night in the home of Raguel. He is your relative, and he has a daughter named Sarah. He has no male heir and no daughter except Sarah only, and you, as next of kin to her; have before all other men a hereditary claim on her. Also, it is right for you to inherit her father’s possessions. Moreover, the girl is sensible, brave, and very beautiful, and her father is a good man.” And they found Raguel sitting beside the courtyard door. They greeted him first, and he replied, “Joyous greetings, brothers; welcome and good health!” Then he brought them into his house. Then Raguel killed a ram from the flock and received them very warmly. When they had bathed and washed themselves and had reclined to dine, Tobias said to Raphael, “Brother Azarius, ask Raguel to give me my kinswoman Sarah.” But Raguel overheard it and said to Tobias, “Eat, drink, and be merry; for no one except you, brother, has the right to marry my daughter Sarah. Likewise, I am not at liberty to give her to any other man than yourself, because you are my nearest relative. But let me explain the true situation to you. I have given my daughter to seven men of our kinsmen, and when each came to her he died in the night. But for the present, my child, eat and drink, and the Lord will act on behalf of you both.” But Tobias said, “I will eat nothing here until you make a binding agreement with me.” So Raguel said, “I will do so. She is given to you in accordance with the decree in the book of Moses, and it has been decreed from heaven that she be given to you. Take your kinswoman; from now on you are her brother and. she is your sister. She is given to you from today and for ever, May the Lord of heaven, my child, guide and prosper you both this night and grant you mercy and peace.” And Raguel called his wife Edna and said to her, “Sister, make up the other room and take her into it.” When they had finished eating and drinking they wanted to retire; so they took the young man and brought him into the bedroom. When the door was shut and the two were alone, Tobias got up from the bed and, said, “Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and safety.” And they began to say, “Blessed are you, O God of our fathers, and blessed be your holy and glorious name for ever. Let the heavens and all your creatures bless you. You made Adam and gave him Eve his wife as a helper and support. From them the race of mankind has sprung. You said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.’ And now, O Lord, I am not taking this sister of mine because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that I may find mercy and may grow old together with her.” And they both said, “Amen, amen.” Then they both went to sleep for the night.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 128: 1-2.3.4-5 (R. see 1 a)
R/. Blessed are all who fear the Lord.
Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
and walk in his ways!
By the labour of your hands you shall eat.
You will be blessed and prosper. R.
Your wife like a fruitful vine
in the heart of your house;
your children like shoots of the olive
around your table. R.
R/. Blessed are all who fear the Lord.
Indeed thus shall be blessed
the man who fears the Lord.
May the Lose bless you from Sion.
May you see Jerusalem prosper
all the days of your life! R.
ALLELUIA 2 Timothy 1:10
Alleluia. Our Saviour Christ Jesus abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. Alleluia.
“There is no other commandment greater than these.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (Mark 12:28b-34)
At that time: One of the scribes came up and asked Jesus, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he; and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any question.
The Gospel of the Lord.
We cannot love God without loving our neighbor, and in loving our neighbor we are at the same time loving God. Yet the two commandments are not on the same level; one comes first and the other second. It is the love of God which is to be the primary love in our lives. We owe the greatest devotion to God, who, as revealed in Jesus, is to be our greatest love Jesus says in another passage, “Seek first the kingdom of God.” If we are absorbed in a loving relationship with God, it will overflow into love of all those whom God loves, and our love for other people will reflect something of God’s love for them.