St. Martha, Wednesday – 29th July 2020 — Gospel: Jn 11,19-27
Model of hopeful faith
When Jesus enters the town of Bethany, his first encounter is with Martha. The conversation between Martha and Jesus brings out the great theological truth on the Resurrection. Martha takes initiative, speaks frankly and also expresses grief, confusion, and anger in her voice. This conveys her emotional attachment to the person of Jesus. But she never lacked her confidence in the power of Jesus to heal the sick. She thought, if Jesus had been present a few days earlier, he would surely have made Lazarus well. Then in her grief Martha exercises hopeful faith that “even now” in the present situation of death, God would do whatever Jesus asks. When Jesus promises that Lazarus will rise again, Martha thinks in eschatological terms and looks to a resurrection at the end. Jesus brings her focus back to the present and back to his person: “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” (11,25-26). Like Martha, we all grieve. And like Martha, we are invited to put hopeful faith into that space of grief. Like Martha, we may wish to escape the present grief by looking far ahead or gazing back to the past. Like Martha, we are invited to find assurance in the midst of anguish. Hope even now, as Martha claims. Life even in death, as Jesus promises. It is the presence of Jesus, the one coming into the world that gives Martha hope in the midst of grief. Martha encourages us to believe that God is the one who moves into the world – with all of its darkness, brokenness, and grief. She reminds us that even in unanswered questions and unmet requests, we are not alone. Her firmness of faith manifests that resurrection and eternal life are the fruit of her relationship with Jesus; wherever Jesus is, there is life that never ends.