Memorial of St. Martha
Exodus 34:29-35 Psalm 99:5, 6, 7, 9 Gospel - John 11:19-27
St. Martha gets a bad rap
Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Martha, a saint who often gets a bad rap, because we always remember her in comparison to her sister Mary who Jesus says “has chosen the better part”. Martha has a feast day that is independent of her sister Mary so that we can reflect on Her witness to Christ, and on the way that God called her to live out her life allowing her to be liberated and transformed by her encounter with Jesus Christ.
Martha is a woman of mission and purpose.
St. Martha is a woman of mission and purpose. Her witness to the Gospel is that of action, she is a woman of action, who gets things done, and who does not like to sit still and wait. St. Martha teaches us that Holy work is one way that we can show the presence of Christ’s love to the world. In today’s Gospel, she hears that Christ is coming, and she does something about it – she goes out to meet him.
Martha relates to Christ in her actions
Martha is a woman of action, it is through her actions that her relationship with Christ is built. Martha relates to Christ primarily through her actions, and she recognizes that Christ’s actions are His way of showing the love of the Father to the world. She expresses her love in her actions and in that way imitates Christ who expresses the fullness of his love through his action of dying on the Cross.
Christ’s challenge / Martha’s response.
When St. Martha meets Christ he reassures her and then challenges her faith “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?”
Jesus does this to reveal the heart of his life of action. He uses St. Martha, the woman of action today to reveal to us that his life, death and resurrection are the saving actions of God. It is in this revelation of his saving action that Martha makes her own statement of faith similar to that of St. Peter. 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.”
How will our encounter with Christ today in the Eucharist transform us so that today our witness to the Gospel is expressed in our actions? What is Christ calling you, and me to do today?