The Feast of St. Martha

John 11: 19-27
1 Jn 4: 7-16 / Psa 34

I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.
(John 11: 27)

Like Martha we make the mistake
Of doubting the Lord’s initiative;
Why don’t we just give God a break,
Trust in His design, and just believe?

Many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother (Lazarus). When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet Him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she told Him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” (John 11: 19-27)

Reflection

Our Church celebrates this day as the feast of St. Martha, who is portrayed as a very interesting person of faith by both St. Luke and St. John in their respective gospels. The first time when our Lord Jesus paid them a visit, and her sister Mary sat at His feet to listen to His words, Martha had complained, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (Lk10:40) Then, when Jesus arrived to condole with them on the death of Lazarus, her first words to Him sounded like a mixture of complaint and faith: “…if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Just as Jesus assured her the first time that there was nothing to worry about, now He drew out from her the faith that He wanted to hear before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Then she told Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

Most of us are like Martha in our walk of faith. We love Jesus so much that we are eager to devote our life in the service of His Word. But we are often so caught up in our service that we neglect our moments of prayer and meditation, which are more important in developing our intimacy with God. We claim that we believe in God’s boundless mercy and trust Him in His design for our life; and yet when something goes terribly wrong, or we lose something that we cherish, we cannot help but blame God for our misfortune. Like St. Martha, I had also complained to God once, “Lord, where were you when I needed you most?” Only to realize later on that He had always been there, and His seeming “absence” was for a wiser purpose. In fact, at a time when I really needed Him most, He acted with lightning speed to save my life. Many years ago, when I was young and irresponsible, I had climbed a tree not knowing there was a high voltage naked wire nearby. When a branch of the tree touched the live wire due to my weight, the sudden excruciating pain caused by thousands of volts of electricity made me cry out only one word – “God!” and I was suddenly jerked out of the tree in a backward somersault, as its branch detached from the live wire. I could never have executed that maneuver on my own; God’s hand is the only explanation. “…whoever lives and believes in HIM will never die.”

Dear Jesus, as we honor Martha in her faith and good works, we are reminded by her example that “God will give You whatever You ask.” We believe that You have come into this world to be our Lord and Savior, and to give us life abundantly. Thank You, Lord Jesus for all Your mercies in all the times that we needed You. As You had loved Martha, Mary and Lazarus, grant that we too may always remain in Your love by following the will of the Father. Amen.

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