Saint Martha

Today’s readings

Along with her sister Mary, and brother Lazarus, Saint Martha was a personal friend of Jesus. We have all heard the story about Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet while Martha did all the cooking and serving. Martha quite rightly (in my opinion!) demands that all should lend a hand in the preparation of one’s house for guests. Jesus’ response there is that “Mary has chosen the better part.” This reminds us that everything isn’t always up to us. We are called to do our part and rest in God’s loving care for us.

But today’s Gospel reading is really the great story of Martha’s saintliness. She says three very faith-filled things in and around this passage. The first comes when she runs out to greet Jesus and proclaims a small part of her faith: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Here her faith is not quite perfect. She is confused that Jesus was detained and her brother died. But there is that aspect of trusting faith that knows that Jesus has power to do whatever he wills. The second great thing she says here comes right at the end of the story we hear today. In this, she proclaims a more perfect faith: “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” In this great profession of faith, Martha is just as bold and courageous as Saint Peter who says much the same when Jesus asks him “who do you say that I am?”

The final great thing that Martha says comes in the part of John’s Gospel, right after the story we read today. Having professed her faith in Jesus, Martha now returns to her sister Mary and calls her to come to Jesus. She says, “The teacher is here and is asking for you.” Those who profess their faith in Jesus cannot possibly keep it to themselves. And Martha does not. She goes to retrieve her sister, who once sat at the Lord’s feet, but now for some reason chose to remain at home. Perhaps Mary was hurt that Jesus had not come right away. Whatever the case, Martha’s faith does not leave her sister in the dark. Like Martha, we who believe in Jesus must tell everyone who needs to hear it that the Teacher is asking for them.

Saint Martha

Today’s readings

Along with her sister Mary, and brother Lazarus, Saint Martha was a personal friend of Jesus. We have all heard the story about Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet while Martha did all the cooking and serving. Martha quite rightly (in my opinion!) demands that all should lend a hand in the preparation of one’s house for guests. Jesus’ response there is that “Mary has chosen the better part.” This reminds us that everything isn’t always up to us. We are called to do our part and rest in God’s loving care for us.

But today’s Gospel reading is really the great story of Martha’s saintliness. She says three very faith-filled things in and around this passage. The first comes when she runs out to greet Jesus and proclaims a small part of her faith: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Here her faith is not quite perfect. She is confused that Jesus was detained and her brother died. But there is that aspect of trusting faith that knows that Jesus has power to do whatever he wills. The second great thing she says here comes right at the end of the story we hear today. In this, she proclaims a more perfect faith: “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” In this great profession of faith, Martha is just as bold and courageous as Saint Peter who says much the same when Jesus asks him “who do you say that I am?”

The final great thing that Martha says comes in the part of John’s Gospel, right after the story we read today. Having professed her faith in Jesus, Martha now returns to her sister Mary and calls her to come to Jesus. She says, “The teacher is here and is asking for you.” Those who profess their faith in Jesus cannot possibly keep it to themselves. And Martha does not. She goes to retrieve her sister, who once sat at the Lord’s feet, but now for some reason chose to remain at home. Perhaps Mary was hurt that Jesus had not come right away. Whatever the case, Martha’s faith does not leave her sister in the dark. Like Martha, we who believe in Jesus must tell everyone who needs to hear it that the Teacher is asking for them.

Saint Martha

Today’s readings

You know, I think St. Martha gets kind of a bad rap in general.  She is maybe best known for the fact that she complained about having to do all the cooking and serving while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet the whole time.  But I think that reputation is undeserved.  I think today’s Gospel reading gives us a better look at why Martha is indeed a saint.  This reading gives us Martha’s profession of faith.  Jesus asks her if she believes that he indeed is the resurrection and the life, and she responds with great faith, “Yes, Lord.  I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

There was a division among the Jews at the time, between those who believed in life after death and those who did not.  It was the Sadducees that did not believe in an afterlife.  Martha clearly isn’t one of these.  Not only does she believe in a resurrection of the dead, but she believes that Jesus is the one who has come to make it all possible.  And she couldn’t be more right.

Martha’s profession of faith comes at a particularly low point in her life: her brother Lazarus has died.  So I think Martha is the patron saint of all of us who choose to witness to our faith even when times are hard.  Those who live faithfully when they are sick or dying, or when they are grieving, or when they are looking for work, or when they are suffering from addiction, or whatever it may be, can look to St. Martha as their patron.  Because when our faith is tested and we choose to live it anyway, that is when we are most like the saints.  And St. Martha is the one to lead us in proclaiming, “Yes, Lord: my faith may be tested right now, but I believe anyway.  You are the Christ.  You are the resurrection and the life.  You are the one who is coming into the world!”

St. Martha

Today’s readings

St. MarthaYou know, I think St. Martha gets kind of a bad rap in general.  She is maybe best known for the fact that she complained about having to do all the cooking and serving while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet the whole time.  But I think that reputation is undeserved.  I think today’s Gospel reading gives us a better look at why Martha is indeed a saint.  This reading gives us Martha’s profession of faith.  Jesus asks her if she believes that he indeed is the resurrection and the life, and she responds with great faith, “Yes, Lord.  I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

There was a division among the Jews at the time, between those who believed in life after death and those who did not.  It was the Sadducees that did not believe in an afterlife.  Martha clearly isn’t one of these.  Not only does she believe in a resurrection of the dead, but she believes that Jesus is the one who has come to make it all possible.  And she couldn’t be more right.

Martha’s profession of faith comes at a particularly low point in her life: her brother Lazarus has died.  So I think Martha is the patron saint of all of us who choose to witness to our faith even when times are hard.  Those who live faithfully when they are sick or dying, or when they are grieving, or when they are looking for work, or when they are suffering from addiction, or whatever it may be, can look to St. Martha as their patron.  Because when our faith is tested and we choose to live it anyway, that is when we are most like the saints.  And St. Martha is the one to lead us in proclaiming, “Yes, Lord: my faith may be tested right now, but I believe anyway.  You are the Christ.  You are the resurrection and the life.  You are the one who is coming into the world!”

St. Martha

Today's readings

You know, I think St. Martha gets kind of a bad rap in general.  She is maybe best known for the fact that she complained about having to do all the cooking and serving while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet the whole time.  Jesus told her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”  That was in the Gospel reading I did not choose to read for today’s Mass.

But that reputation is so wrong.  I think the Gospel I did read gives us a better look at why Martha is indeed a saint.  This reading gives us Martha’s profession of faith.  Jesus asks her if she believes that he indeed is the resurrection and the life, and she responds with great faith, “Yes, Lord.  I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

There was a division among the Jews at the time, between those who believed in life after death and those who did not.  It was the Sadducees that did not believe in an afterlife (and so that’s why they were sad, you see…).  Martha clearly isn’t one of these.  Not only does she believe in a resurrection of the dead, but she believes that Jesus is the one who has come to make it all possible.  And she couldn’t be more right.

Martha’s profession of faith comes at a particularly low point in her life: her brother Lazarus has died.  So I think Martha is the patron saint of all of us who choose to witness to our faith even when times are hard.  Those who live faithfully when they are sick or dying, or when they are grieving, or when they are looking for work, or when they are suffering from addiction, or whatever it may be, can look to St. Martha as their patron.  Because when our faith is tested and we choose to live it anyway, that is when we are most like the saints.  And St. Martha is the one to lead us in proclaiming, “Yes, Lord: my faith may be tested right now, but I believe anyway.  You are the Christ.  You are the resurrection and the life.  You are the one who is coming into the world!”

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