Commentary on the Gospel of

Elizabeth Furlong

In Reading 1 we are reminded of one aspect of women’s roles and position in that society and culture at that time, i.e., “…the kind of work women do.”  We can also reflect on what happens in mis-communication between two individuals when incorrect assumptions are made by one about the other, i.e., Tobit’s non-validated assumptions of how Anna came in possession of the young goat.  We read that the husband did not believe her answer; and, that further, he moved into anger with his response.  What can we learn from her response to him?  She evaluated that his “…true character was now showing itself.”  Which understanding do you believe and practice—that, under stress, one’s true character reveals itself?  Or, that, under stress, one’s behavior may be atypically negative?  To be generous and to apply the second way of perceiving, Language Matters in this Reading 1.  We have been reminded of the place of women in that society; was Tobit responding in an angry way because he was unable to contribute in an expected manner and his wife was?  Perhaps his angry response was not his “…true character.”  Perhaps, it was a stress response to his blindness, and, thus, changed role expectation in that society.  Or, perhaps, it was his true character.  And, his behaviors of charitable deeds and virtuous acts did not persist in such conditions. 


Language matters, again, in the Gospel.  This time, the Pharisees, the Herodians, and Jesus were all specifically attentive to what words and language would be used.  Each of them chose and used language to each’s benefit.  


Language matters.  Spirit Wisdom calls me to be attentive to language used by myself and by others. 


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