This whole story about Tobit contracting cataracts because of bird droppings falling in his eyes while he was napping, which we heard about on Tuesday, and then being cured by fish gall in today’s first reading is objectively gross and medically suspect. But this story isn’t from a medical textbook, it’s from Holy Scripture, so what’s important here is the deeper healing that happens in Tobit’s heart, and his family’s life.
Angels are messengers that God sends sometimes to let us know his plans for us, or to guard and guide us, or even to help us to see what’s really important. And it’s that last thing that the archangel Raphael does in today’s first reading. If we remember the story as we heard it on Tuesday, after Tobit was made blind by cataracts, he scolded his wife for accepting a goat as a bonus on her labor, because he did not believe her story. In that part of the story, it seems that Tobit had to learn that charity – for which he himself was quite well known – begins at home. His period of blindness gave him that very insight, I think, and in today’s story he rejoices in his cleared vision.
Through the intercession of Saint Raphael the archangel, Tobit regained his sight and was able to see his son safely returned from a long and dangerous journey. He saw also the return of his family fortune. And he saw the union of his son Tobit with his new wife Sarah. There was great cause for rejoicing in all that he was able to see and Tobit didn’t miss a beat in placing the credit where it belonged. He said,
Blessed be God,
and praised be his great name,
and blessed be all his holy angels.
May his holy name be praised
throughout all the ages.
Because it was he who scourged me,
and it is he who has had mercy on me.
And so we praise God today for angels who help us to see what’s really important. We praise God for angels who clear up our clouded vision and help us to see past the obstacles we’ve put in God’s way. We praise God for angels who help us to overcome our pride and self-righteousness so that God’s way can become clear to us. May we rejoice along with Tobit and Anna and all the rest that God has truly sent his angels to us often to bring us back to him.