The faith and perseverance of Tobit

It’s not easy to follow God and the teachings of His Church these days.

In some circles, one can be mocked; in others one can be ridiculed. Our patriotism can be questioned and social media friends can quickly turn on you.

In some parts of the world, we face death on a daily basis.

Little has changed. Our first reading today from Tobit tells the story of how a simple act of decency – the proper burial of the dead – can become the source of mockery and the threat of punishment.

Still, Tobit did what he believed was right in God’s eyes. He did not seek man’s approval. He feared God more than anyone else.

Ah, to have such faith today.

My daily newspaper brings headlines that could scare the most holy of us. Churches being sued, Nativity scenes being mocked by so-called “satan worshipers” and Christians having their beheadings celebrated on Twitter.

Still, when you read between the lines, you can usually find a source of inspiration … an individual, a parish, a group of citizens who stand up against a culture that seems to be headed in another direction.

What to do?

Do we shed our beliefs and obligations? Do we stop going to Mass? Do we focus solely on “just getting along” at the expense of “getting it right?”

Look to Tobit for an answer. He felt the same pressures. He suffered the same way many suffer today. And he was not scared.

Nor should we fear remaining faithful to God. Be Not Afraid, after all.

Easier said than done. Everyone wants to be a saint, but few of us really want to be a martyr.

And yet every day I read about martyrs in my daily newspaper.

In the Book of Tobit, God knew of this man’s faith and devotion. But he put him to the test anyway. He allowed birds to “drop” into his eyes while he slept, rendering him blind.

Tobit did not turn on God. He accepted his cross and moved on with life. God rewarded him.

How will God test us today?

More importantly … how will we respond?

About the Author

Dan McFeely is a Carmel, Indiana, writer, communications business owner, book editor and a former professional journalist at The Indianapolis Star. A "cradle Catholic" who once felt the call to the Priesthood, he is now happily married to his wife, Sue, and enjoys spending time with his three granddaughters (and two cats). For the past decade, Dan has worked as an Adult Faith Formation Minister, currently serving as a spiritual director for the men's and women's Christ Renews His Parish program at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Carmel. He is a graduate of the Ecclesial Lay Ministry program offered by the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana through St. Joseph's College; and has studied theology as a student at Marian University. He previously studied journalism and political science at Indiana University. Currently, Dan loves to read and study the Catholic faith on a daily basis. He is particularly fond of the works of Thomas Merton and modern day scholars and theologians.

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