Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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European Day of Memory of Shoah.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Tobit 3,16-17

This time the prayer of each of them found favour before the glory of God,

and Raphael was sent to bring remedy to them both. He was to take the white spots from the eyes of Tobit, so that he might see God's light with his own eyes; and he was to give Sarah the daughter of Raguel as bride to Tobias son of Tobit, and to rid her of Asmodeus, that worst of demons. For it was to Tobias before all other suitors that she belonged by right. Tobit was coming back from the courtyard into the house at the same moment as Sarah the daughter of Raguel was coming down from the upper room.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The author, even now, demonstrates the efficacy of both Tobit’s and Sarah’s prayers: the first will be healed of his blindness, and the second will find a husband, Tobias, who will give her a child. All of this happens through the intervention of the angel Raphael. The author not only underlines the efficacy of prayer, but he also highlights how the Lord has intervened in the world by sending the angel Raphael from heaven. Of all the angels, seven are distinguished as being particularly close to God (the archangels). Scripture remembers the names of three of them: Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael (the others are given various different names), and the book of Tobit is the first biblical text to mention Raphael. Scripture presents Raphael as the angel who mediates between God and humanity, a personal helper for the just men and women who find themselves in difficulty, and as a spokesperson for God. Angels, like demons, are not an easy topic. The pages of Scripture present angels as the hand of God that enters into history to accompany men and women, showing them the path to follow in order to keep from falling into the snares set by the devil. Their presence in Scripture is an invitation to consider the concrete divine presence (in this case, represented by the angel Raphael) that accompanies men and women by becoming one of us. It is a delicate and discrete presence that never imposes itself on the liberty of the human protagonists, but which nonetheless is no less effective. We are very far from magic abstraction. The Lord intervenes in human history in a concrete and tangible way, even if it is mysterious to our eyes. It is a question of faith, not esotericism. The passage concludes the same way that the text about Sarah began (cfr. 3:7): Sarah’s and Tobit’s prayers are made simultaneously, and the Lord hears them both at the very same moment. We could say that praying in "accord" (even in time) - as Jesus himself will urge his followers to do - moves God to intervene. And God is moved even more by the invocations made by the poor, the weak, and the suffering when they ask to be saved from their condition of sadness.