Memorial of St. Martha
July 29, 2020
Friend – that’s one of the wonderful ways we relate to Jesus and in which he relates to us. Yes, Jesus is Lord, Savoir, Redeemer and Shepherd but friend is special. We all need a good friend. And in Jesus we have no greater a friend than one the who laid down his life for us.
Jesus was also good friends with Martha, Mary and Lazarus of Bethany. He would stay at their home when he was in the area. We recall the dinner that Martha was preparing as Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to him. Martha didn’t shy away from complaining to Jesus that she was doing all the work while Mary just sat there. As a trusted friend she let her feelings be known.
In the Gospel today which is part of the longer version of the Raising of Lazarus, again Martha lets the Lord know that she is disappointed because he did not come quickly to save her brother Lazarus. How could he have taken so long while her brother, Jesus’ good friend, was dying? She said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Jesus reassures Martha that her “brother will rise” and despite her discouragement Martha shows her confidence and trust in Jesus and what he has shared with them. “I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day,” and “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” Martha professes great faith in Jesus as the “Anointed One” but she relates honestly to her friend about her confusion, sadness and disappointment.
Having faith in Jesus or in God doesn’t mean we can never have doubt or question why things happen. The Psalms are full of people relating to God with every emotion and thought we are capable of feeling as humans. And we all have in some way expressed our anger, frustration and confusion about the events of life. “Lord why did you let my husband or brother or mother die or get sick or lose their job?” “If you had been there it wouldn’t have happened.”
In our friendship with Jesus we can be honest like Martha was. Jesus lived fully our human condition and understands what we go through. A good friend remains loyal in the face of raw honesty which shows trust and faith and strengthens the friendship.
Jesus desires the best for us and promises the same to us as he promised to Martha, that “if you believe you will see the glory of God" Thanks friend!
Fr. Patrick Daugherty, C.P.