You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.
Love is very definitely the theme of today's Liturgy of the Word. As I mentioned on Tuesday, I'm so excited because this week we are reading from the book of Tobit, from which we get the stories about our patron saint, St. Raphael. And today we hear about him entering the story, in the guise of the person of Azariah. Tobit and Tobiah and all the rest don't know he's an angel yet, but that will become clear enough when the blessing of love wipes the cataracts away from Tobit's eyes, and everything becomes clear to him.
And we know that it is love that can do all these things. Love can clear up old Tobit's vision. Love can and will let Tobiah survive his wedding night when he marries Sarah. Love can heal Tobit's and Sarah's broken hearts. And love can reveal that the power of God works in all of our lives, in all of our hearts.
Sometimes we need an angel to come to know that. During our lives, we can go through periods that are just awful and seem devoid of any joy. But love won't let that be the final answer for any of us. Just as the angel Raphael took the form of Azaraiah and was a blessing to Tobiah and Sarah, so too there may be angels in our own lives, in the form of family or friends or caregivers that end the cycle of sadness in the same way that God's blessing ended the cycle of death for Sarah's husbands.
Tobiah and Sarah sang a song of praise to God and said "Amen, amen" before going to bed for the night. They woke up the next morning to rejoice in God's love in the same way that we can, if we will but realize that there is no commandment greater than the commandment to love God and one another. Death cannot and will not ever win the battle over love.