We must never despair; our situation has been compromising before, and it has changed for the better; so I trust it will again. If difficulties arise, we must put forth new exertion and proportion our efforts to the exigencies of the times. ~ George Washington: (1732 - 1799: was the first President of the United States: 1789–97)
Gospel Text: (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.”
Surprisingly, in John’s gospel it is a woman who is the prophetic voice. It is Martha, not Peter in John’s Gospel that acknowledges the messiahship of Jesus. And it is worth adding, her acknowledgment and praise of Jesus isn’t done in the context of the most wonderful day in her life. It is done on one of the saddest days when Lazarus, whom she loves so deeply, has died.
Today, on the feast of St. Martha, I think we can draw courage from this woman who personally knew the redemption of Christ. Jesus challenges her to put her hope, not in some future event, but in him in the present moment. I think this is important. For frequently I find people who believe God did mighty and creative things in the past and can believe God will have mighty acts in the future, but really struggle to see God in the today. And if God does act today, they tend to see God in those things that they deem to be “worthy”: a blooming flower, a smiling child. Martha’s challenge to us is to see and trust in the here and now, even when we are having a bad day. Even in the midst of sadness and sorrow, can we discover a redeeming messiah?