JULY 29. St Martha. Jn. 11. 19-27
Updated: Sep 10
Many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to sympathise with them over their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus had come, she went to meet him. Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that, even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.’ ‘Your brother’ said Jesus to her ‘will rise again.’ Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said:
‘I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’
‘Yes, Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’
The story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus involves a very lengthy reading, but today, on Martha’s feast, the Church extracts the lesson she has given us; - the reading being a powerful statement about both what Christ taught; - and what Martha believed.
Sometimes it is easy to forget the purpose of Christ’s teachings is to have us believe what he taught. Today in the story of Martha we find a good example of what Christ wants us to believe; - together with a strong declaration from someone who understands; - and is able to articulate what she believes.
Firstly, to Christ; -
“I am the resurrection and the life.
If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live,
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.’
And then, to Martha herself; -
If you had been here,
my brother would not have died, but I know that,
even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.’
‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.’
Martha was clearly a person with a strong faith! Her statement could only be made by someone who had no doubts whatever about both Christ’s divinity and power. People with such faith were sadly missing in Christ’s time; - just as they are today!
Today’s events took place days after the death of Lazarus, a person Christ referred to as his friend; - but even after hearing of his death, Jesus waited before visiting the family. He did this because it was his intention to use the death of Lazarus to reveal his divinity; - and to give a sign to his friend; - and us!
Why do so many of us still refuse to believe? I have never heard anyone determine the number of miraculous cures that are recorded; - but then, in addition, we have the raising from the dead of Lazarus; - a young girl: - and finally Christ himself!
And still the number of true believers remains so small? And all because of the demands of Christ’s teachings! Do we not understand? Christ is God! He is our creator! He became man in order to reveal the Truth; - and the truth cannot be altered!
Martha believed, but so many of us refuse to do so; - trusting instead in earthly ‘wisdom’; - rather than in the teachings of Christ; - and we do this fully aware our own death is near??
Gospel Acclamation Jn8:12
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
First reading Exodus 40:16-21,34-38 · The tabernacle is set up
Moses did exactly as the Lord had directed him. The tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month in the second year. Moses erected the tabernacle. He fixed the sockets for it, put up its frames, put its crossbars in position, set up its posts. He spread the tent over the tabernacle and on top of this the covering for the tent, as the Lord had directed Moses. He took the Testimony and placed it inside the ark. He set the shafts to the ark and placed the throne of mercy on it. He brought the ark into the tabernacle and put the screening veil in place; thus he screened the ark of the Lord, as the Lord had directed Moses.
The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because of the cloud that rested on it and because of the glory of the Lord that filled the tabernacle.
At every stage of their journey, whenever the cloud rose from the tabernacle the sons of Israel would resume their march. If the cloud did not rise, they waited and would not march until it did. For the cloud of the Lord rested on the tabernacle by day, and a fire shone within the cloud by night, for all the House of Israel to see. And so it was for every stage of their journey.