July 29. ST. MARTHA.
Short bio. Gospel, commentary, and prayer.
Our Lord Jesus Christ liked the home of Martha, her brother Lazarus, and her sister Mary. As our Lord’s friends in Bethany, they took loving care of Him. We should ask God to help us unite Martha’s intense work and Mary’s contemplation. Orthodox tradition relates that Martha fled Judea after the persecution following the martyrdom of St. Stephen, assisting his brother Lazarus in the proclaiming of the Gospel in various lands. Mary joined them later and the three of them came to Cyprus, where Lazarus became the first Bishop of Kittim (modern Larnaca). All three died in Cyprus.
GOSPEL OF THE DAY (Jn 11:19–27)
Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died]. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “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.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”
GOSPEL COMMENTARY (FROM NAVARRE GOSPELS)
Here we have one of those concise definitions Christ gives of himself, and which St John faithfully passes on to us (cf. Jn 10:9, 14:6; 15:1): Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. He is the Resurrection because by his victory over death he is the cause of the resurrection of all men. The miracle he works in raising Lazarus is a sign of Christ’s power to give life to people. And so, by faith in Jesus Christ, who arose first from among the dead, the Christian is sure that he too will rise one day, like Christ (cf. 1 Cor 15:23; Col 1:18). Therefore, for the believer death is not the end; it is simply the step to eternal life, a change of dwelling-place, as one of the Roman Missal’s Prefaces of Christian Death puts it: “Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death, we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven”.
Almighty ever-living God, whose Son was pleased to be welcomed in Saint Martha’s house as a guest, grant, we pray, that, through her intercession, serving Christ faithfully in our brothers and sisters we may merit to be received by you in the halls of heaven. Through Our Lord…
VIDEO COMMENTARY ON TODAY’S GOSPEL
TOPIC: Do you want to know how to prevent anxiety?
Every time the story of Mary and Martha is told – good friends of Jesus – either in their home where Jesus keeps Mary enthralled with His teachings, or when Lazarus, their brother dies, it is Martha that is pictured to be the anti-hero.
But Martha is the more typical of the two. She represents us. On one instance, she pleads with Jesus to tell Mary to help her serve the many guests Jesus brings with Him to their house as she is the only one burdened with the preparations.
On another instance, she blames Jesus for being late in arriving at their home, causing her brother to die even before He could heal him.
Notice that in both visits of Jesus – during the death of Lazarus, and during an ordinary day – Martha is the one who meets and welcomes Jesus first.
Like Martha, we may welcome Jesus gladly into our lives. But like her, we can become so busy either going about our daily tasks, as we are wont to do, or we become so involved in our service to Him – either in the parish or in a renewal community – that we forget to give the guests the importance and time they deserve.
Oftentimes, we become too involved, too actively serving, that we forget to do the better part, as Jesus lovingly reminds her – which is to begin our day meeting Him in our prayers.
Yes, we pray daily but are our prayers more of asking than of listening? Is it more of complaining rather than of thanking?
Is it done so fast and so furious that when problems start to crop up in the day, we become furious fast?
We know that Jesus is the source of life. We understand that, with Him, all things are possible. But when difficulties arise, do we still consider Him our Living Water that quenches our thirst and calms our nerves?
Can we still trust Him when we are enveloped in trials.
[VIDEO – PJ MUNCAL]
We can be very welcoming, hospitable and warm to our guests, like Martha. We like to do things that would please, especially if it is someone like Jesus we are serving. But our passion to please becomes confusion and anxiety when problems start to confront us.
If we can only do what we do in webinars or Zoom meetings, where we all are on audio mute mode as we focus our listening on the speaker, God can guide us through our daily labyrinths and exit from them easily.
But when we are with Jesus, we should not be on video mute. We should continue to fix our eyes on Him rather than doing other things or letting our minds wander to the concerns of the day.
We must zoom out of the things that may rattle us as we begin our day, and just zoom in on what is essential – our relationship with God. If we do that, our day will just pass by quickly without a trace of worry, anxiety and confusion.
If we start our day asking for God’s grace, we will notice that it is easier to exhibit goodness and kindness to people around us. It becomes a gift-giving moment for us to others as we become more patient, more loving, more forgiving.
SEE AS WELL:
ST. AUGUSTINE ON ST. MARTHA: BLESSED ARE THEY WHO RECEIVE CHRIST IN THEIR HOMES,
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