St. Martha

July 29

1John 4:7-16; John 11:19-27/Luke 10:38-42

Today, we are celebrating the feast of St. Martha. Her sister was Mary (not the Mother of Jesus). St. Martha is described as practical. She was designated as the speaker of the house especially when her brother died and is pretty clear also that she was the manager of their household since she was the one who ran it.

When we talk about Christian spirituality, it is said that Martha represents the active spirituality because she did the serving while Mary represents the contemplative spirituality because Mary was at the foot of Jesus listening to Him. These two types of spirituality should not be separated from each other. They should go hand in hand. We should have these two in our lives. For me, this could be one of the reasons why Jesus reprimanded her in the gospel of St. Luke, because she separated the two. Jesus said to her, when she complained to Jesus that Mary did not help her in the kitchen: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her,” (Luke 10:41-42).

But in today’s gospel Martha showed us another aspect of faith, besides listening to Jesus, the aspect of trusting the Lord. She trusted that the Lord could do more. She said: “But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you,” (John 11:22). Her faith told her to wholeheartedly trust the Lord. In general, she understood what resurrection is all about, she knew in her heart that all she needed was to trust the Lord; that Jesus would do what was right.

Mary has chosen the better part. Listening to Jesus is the most important. We should also listen to God as Mary did. But why is it so difficult for us to listen to God and let Him speak about the meaning of our lives? Is it because we do not trust Him or we are afraid of Him? Is it because we do not know Him or we have a distorted image of Him? Can we allow Him to be God in our lives?

One way of showing that we trust the Lord is through prayer. It is because prayer, according to Theophan, the 19th century Russian Orthodox Bishop, wrote: “Prayer is the test of everything; prayer is also the source of everything; prayer is the driving force of everything; prayer is also the director of everything. If prayer is right, everything is right. For prayer will not allow anything to go wrong.” Cardinal Basil Hume, OSB the saintly archbishop of Westminster in London, warned: “Unless we based our lives on prayer, we cannot be more than superficial followers of Jesus Christ.” It is because serious prayer is fundamental to the Christian life.

What are we looking for in this life? Are we looking for Jesus, listen to Him and trust Him?

See Today’s Readings: Memorial of Saint Martha

Back to: Saints and Solemnities

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