Friday, the seventeenth week of Ordinary time. Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus, July 29, 2022
Jer 26:1-9; Ps 69:5, 8-10, 14; Jn 11:19-27
There are two different versions of Jesus visiting Mary and Martha in the bible. One in the Gospel of Luke (10:38-42), and the other in the Gospel of John (11:19-27), which we hear today. Based on what was happening, and how it was described, we can assume it was the same visit. In both, Martha is greeting guests who were visiting because of Lazarus’s death, and she was taking care of them. But in today’s Gospel, when she hears Jesus is coming, she goes out to meet Jesus. Mary, on the other hand, either is already at the feet of Jesus listening to Him, or when Jesus arrives, she sits at His feet. In the Gospel of Luke, the message is about service, and what is most important when you do serve. In the Gospel of John, today’s Gospel, we hear about Martha’s faith and how important our faith in God is, or should be.
Both Martha and Mary were upset about Lazarus’s death. However, as the older sister, Martha needed to be the one attending to the visitors. Yet, when she hears Jesus is on the way, she runs out to greet him. Her greeting is not so much a kind welcome, but in anger, she cries out to Jesus in pain, that her brother is dead. Jesus, understanding her pain, responds back to her with love and mercy, telling her that her brother will rise. He does this not to test her faith, because she does believe in the resurrection on the last day, but to help her understand there is a new resurrection, the one of Jesus Christ. Jesus says to her “Whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone who lives and believes in me, will never die.” Meaning those who have faith in Jesus Christ, and truly believe that He is the Son of God, will have life everlasting with Him in Heaven. Martha’s eyes are opened, and she emphatically speaks, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe, that you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus goes on to raise Lazarus from the dead. He does this to show the world that it is through Him, and only Him, that we can obtain everlasting life. It is through His life, death and resurrection that we will obtain life everlasting.
Can we answer the ultimate question if we were asked? If Jesus came to us and asked, “Do you believe this?” Will you answer as Martha did? “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world.”