Memorial of Saint Martha
(Jeremiah 14:17-22; John 11:19-27)
When the father of the boy possessed by a demon exclaims to Jesus, “I do believe; help my unbelief,” he expresses the faith of most every Christian. Even Martha, a close friend of the Lord, shows a fault line in her belief as in today’s gospel.
Martha makes a declaration of faith as bold as Peter’s in the first three gospels. She calls Jesus “’…the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.’” But she fails to realize the meaning of her statement. When Jesus says that her dead brother will rise, she considers it a reference to the vague end of times. She does not recognize that the Jesus standing before her is new life itself. Not understanding the full meaning of her words, Martha will worry about mundane things like the smell of decomposing flesh when Jesus orders her brother’s tomb opened.
Although we may take comfort in knowing that we are not alone in posing questions of faith, it is important to move beyond this point. Full faith will make stronger and more attentive to others’ needs. It will assure that we do what is right in trial and keep us squarely on the road to the fullness of life.