29 July, 2013 (Monday). St. Martha, Memorial
1 Jn 4:7-16. The love of God that lives among us.
Lk 10:38-42. Martha, you fret and worry about so many things!
First Reading: 1 John 4:7-16.
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.
Gospel: Luke 10:38-42.
Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Gospel: John 11:19-27.
Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
Martha, the Cheerfully Practical One
Today we celebrate the feast of St Martha, who was sister both to Mary and Lazarus. We recently heard in a gospel passage how Mary “chose the better part” when Jesus came to visit their home – “better part” being her close attentiveness to Jesus at his feet. But, this does not preclude Martha’s attentiveness to him in a similar way “from the kitchen” – where she was preparing a wonderful meal for them to eat together. What woman in the kitchen does not know exactly what is going on in the rest of the house?
But today, we remember Martha in quite another light – emphasising her deep, personal faith in Jesus. It is Martha who proclaims her belief in a resurrection from the dead for those who die in faith. It is in response to her that Jesus describes himself as the resurrection and the life – and promises that whoever lives and believes in him will never die. These are among the central statements of Jesus, according to John, all made at the prompting of Martha, who was grieving at the death of her brother Lazarus.
To show his true power over death, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. For a short while anyway the family was reunited until they all died their natural deaths again! And now they, like all of us – wait for the general resurrection when we will rise from our graves and receive our reward from God – if we have been good and faithful to the end: eternal life with God in the kingdom of heaven.