December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 When the wedding celebration came to an end, Tobit called his son Tobiah and said to him, "Son, see to it that you give what is due to the man who made the journey with you; give him a bonus too."
- Tobiah said: "Father, how much shall I pay him? It would not hurt me at all to give him half of all the wealth he brought back with me.
- He led me back safe and sound; he cured my wife; he brought the money back with me; and he cured you. How much of a bonus should I give him?"
- Tobit answered, "It is only fair, son, that he should receive half of all that he brought back."
- So Tobiah called Raphael and said, "Take as your wages half of all that you have brought back, and go in peace."
- 2 3 Raphael called the two men aside privately and said to them: "Thank God! Give him the praise and the glory. Before all the living, acknowledge the many good things he has done for you, by blessing and extolling his name in song. Before all men, honor and proclaim God's deeds, and do not be slack in praising him.
- A king's secret it is prudent to keep, but the works of God are to be declared and made known. Praise them with due honor. Do good, and evil will not find its way to you.
- 4 Prayer and fasting are good, but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than abundance with wickedness. It is better to give alms than to store up gold;
- for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin. Those who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life;
- but those habitually guilty of sin are their own worst enemies.
- "I will now tell you the whole truth; I will conceal nothing at all from you. I have already said to you, 'A king's secret it is prudent to keep, but the works of God are to be made known with due honor.'
- 5 I can now tell you that when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed, it was I who presented and read the record of your prayer before the Glory of the Lord; and I did the same thing when you used to bury the dead.
- When you did not hesitate to get up and leave your dinner in order to go and bury the dead,
- 6 I was sent to put you to the test. At the same time, however, God commissioned me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah.
- I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who enter and serve before the Glory of the Lord."
- Stricken with fear, the two men fell to the ground.
- But Raphael said to them: "No need to fear; you are safe. Thank God now and forever.
- As for me, when I came to you it was not out of any favor on my part, but because it was God's will. So continue to thank him every day; praise him with song.
- Even though you watched me eat and drink, I did not really do so; what you were seeing was a vision.
- So now get up from the ground and praise God. Behold, I am about to ascend to him who sent me; write down all these things that have happened to you."
- When Raphael ascended they rose to their feet and could no longer see him.
- They kept thanking God and singing his praises; and they continued to acknowledge these marvelous deeds which he had done when the angel of God appeared to them.
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Footnotes1 (1-5) Tobit and his son generously agree to give Azariah far more than the wages agreed upon in Tobit 5:15-16.
2  (6-10) In the fashion of a wisdom teacher, Raphael gives the two men a short exhortation similar to the one Tobit gave his son in Tobit 4:3-19.
3  (6-7) The Jews considered the duty of praising God their most esteemed privilege. Without praise of God, life was meaningless. Cf Isaiah 38:16-20.
4  Prayer . . . fasting . . . almsgiving . . . righteousness: these, together with the proper attitude toward wealth, are treated in great detail by Christ our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6). 9 for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin. Those who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life;
5  (12,15) Raphael is one of the seven specially designated intercessors who present man's prayers to God. Angelology was developing in this period. The names of two other angels are given in the Bible: Gabriel (Daniel 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26) and Michael (Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 1:9; Rev 12:7).
6  I was sent . . . test: God often sends trials to purify his faithful servants further. Cf Job 1-2.
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