Memorial of Saint Martha
(Jeremiah 18:1-6; John 11:19-27)
After hearing of John Kennedy’s escapades, one wonders why he is considered a great president. Yet many throughout the earth revere his memory because his vigor and articulateness represented the hope of using strength as a source of renewing the world in virtue. In a similar way we have to ask why we honor Martha as a saint after Jesus reproaches her in the Gospel of Luke for fussing over details while neglecting the central concern of existence.
We need look no farther than the reading today from the Gospel according to John. In it today Martha shows that she has learned Jesus’ lesson. More than any other personage in the gospels with the exception of the once doubting Thomas, Mary recognizes Jesus for whom he is. She not only accepts his self-description of being the resurrection and the life but can confidently add that he is “’the Christ, the son of the living God, the one who is coming into the world.’” What Jesus says to Peter after he made a similar, but not quite as complete, a claim applies to Martha here, “’Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but my Father who is in heaven.’”
Martha’s confession gives us confidence to proclaim our faith. Yes, sometimes we become discouraged by the pain we see around us. At other times we may feel confused by the disbelief of intelligent, even good, people. Yet we know that Jesus has shown himself to be the Lord and comes, more regularly even than we expect, to save us.