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SAINT MARTHA: A Memorial Martha live PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 28 July 2009 06:43
SAINT MARTHA: A Memorial Martha lived with her sister and brother, Mary and Lazarus, in Bethany near Jerusalem. Toward the end of his public life the Lord would often stay at the home of these close friends. Strong bonds of affection closely unite the three to Jesus. Love for the Master and confidence in his help. The feast of St Martha is another occasion for us to enter into the home that was so often graced by the presence of Jesus in Bethany. There in the family formed by Martha, Mary and Lazarus, the Lord found affection and also rest for his body, tired out as it often was by never-ending travels through outlying towns and cities. Jesus sought refuge among his friends, especially during those final days when he more frequently encountered misunderstanding and scorn, particularly from the Pharisees The sentiments of the Master towards his friends at Bethany are expressed by St John in his Gospel account: Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister and Lazarus (John 11:5). They were indeed true friends! The Gospel of the Mass (John 11:17-27) recounts Jesus’ visit to the home of this family four days after Lazarus had died. Before He arrived there, when Lazarus was already gravely ill, the sisters, full of confidence, had sent the Master this message: Lord, behold, the one whom you love is sick (John 11:3). Jesus, then in Galilee, a few days journey away, when he heard that he was sick, he remained two more days in the same place. Then afterwards, He said to his disciples: ‘Let us go into Judaea’ (John 11:67). When He arrived, Lazarus had already been four days in the tomb. Martha, always attentive and active, realized probably even before Jesus reached the house that he was getting close, and went out immediately to greet him. Despite the Lord’s apparent lack of response to their plea for help, her love and confidence had not been diminished. Lord - Martha tells him - if you were here, my brother would not have died (John 11:21). She upbraids him with great sensitivity for not having arrived earlier. Martha was hoping for her brother’s cure when he was still sick. And Jesus, with a friendly gesture, perhaps with a smile on his lips, surprised her: Your brother will rise again, he says (John 11:23). Martha receives these words of consolation, but understanding the final resurrection by his words she answers him: I know that he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day (John 11:24). The response provokes an amazing declaration from Jesus regarding his divinity: I am the Resurrection and the Life; he who believes in me, though he die, shall live, and who ever lives and believes in me shall never die (John 11:25). And he asks her: Do you believe this? Who could resist the sovereign authority of this declaration? I am the Resurrection and the Life... I.... I am the reason for being of all that exists. Jesus is the Life, not only the Life that begins hereafter, but also the present one in which supernatural grace works in our souls while we are still wayfarers. These extraordinary words assure us and draw us closer and closer to Christ. They lead us to make Martha’s response our own: I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God, come into the world (John 11:27). Moments later, the Lord was to raise Lazarus from the dead. We admire Martha’s faith and want to imitate her in her trusting friendship with the Master. Have you seen the affection and confidence with which Christ’s friends treat him? In a completely natural way the sisters of Lazarus ‘blame’ Jesus for being away: ‘We told you! If only you’d been here!’ Speak to him with calm confidence: ‘Teach us to treat you with the loving friendliness of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, as the first twelve treated you, even though at first they followed you perhaps for not very supernatural reasons’ (J. Escrivá, The Forge, 495). With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at www.totusbookstore. com (info@totusbookstore .com) To subscribe or unsubscribe, please email info@defensoresfide i.com. The DEFENSORES FIDEI FOUNDATION actively spreads Ecclesial Information, Catechetical Instructions and Apologetics in pursuit of making good Catholics better Catholics. Any contribution to help this apostolate is heaven-sent and now TAX-DEDUCTIBLE (in USA). Please visit us at www.defensoresfidei .com.
 

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