Memorial of St. Martha
29 July 2016
Saying “We can still be friends” after a break-up is like saying “Hey, the dog died but we can still keep it.”
Ang text ni Guy, “Let’s be something more than friends.”
Ang reply naman ni Gurl, “What, Bestfriends?”
Ang hirit ulit ni Guy, “No. I mean, something more than that…”
Excited si Gurl, ang textback niya, “Mega bestfriends?!”
Kung magpapatawa ka, siguruduhin mong dalawa tayong matatawa. Hindi ‘yung ikaw lang ang natawa, tapos ako in love na.
The encounter of Jesus with Martha in the Gospel we just heard allows us to take a good look at one intimate feature of Jesus’ humanity: His closeness to the siblings Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.
One of my scriptures teachers in the theologate mulled over that Jesus would visit the house of the siblings in Bethany on his way to Jerusalem. In his every stop in that house, he was not just welcomed with a comfortable roof over his head, He enjoyed the warm company of these siblings. To Him, after the apostles, they are His closest friends.
Hence, a little beyond the end of today’s reading we find one of the shortest verses in the Bible. It simply says, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Jesus mourned the death of his friend Lazarus, too!
But let me stop myself from talking about Lazarus. I’d like to focus on Martha. After all, it is she whom we commemorate today. The Gospel enlightens us today of three things which help us strengthen our relationship with Jesus: Comfort, Confidence, and Candidness.
Many Jews came to console Martha and Mary when they knew that Lazarus died. St. Luke was keen on the detail that upon Martha’s learning that Jesus was coming, she herself went out of her way in order to meet Him.
Because Jesus is around, everything is under control. Because Jesus is here, there is nothing to fear. That was what Martha must have experienced when she met Jesus.
Like Martha, when problems come our way, do we seek comfort from Jesus, too?
Martha expressed her confidence in Jesus. She called Jesus Lord. And like Peter, Jesus was for her the Messiah, the Son of God. She lost her brother because He was not around. But because Jesus is back, she was certain that He could do wonders. Because of Jesus, she is confident that her brother will live again.
We can say of the same confidence which happened in the life of Jeremiah in the first reading. He proclaimed what he heard from God as it is. If they persisted in disobedience, it would ruin their city and temple. He did not seek to please men, or to save himself from harm.
The priests and prophets didn’t like what they heard from Jeremiah, and so, they wanted to kill him. But knowing that God is on his side, he stood his ground. He was not afraid of them.
The third C speaks of Martha’s candidness. She gently chides Jesus for His delaying His coming with these words “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Who among us can speak in this way to Jesus? Only those who enjoy friendly and familiar relationship with Him.
Dominic Savio must have prayed his prayers so candidly that God listened to him. One Sunday, upon hearing Don Bosco’s homily that it is easy to be a saint, it became his life-long mission. He wanted to become a Saint. His friendship with Jesus obtained for him what he prayed for.
Let us also be honest and sincere in our way of relating with Jesus. Do not be shy to ask Him what you need.
So, how do we find out that we are friends with Jesus? Let us look at the example of Martha. Her friendship with Jesus comforted her. It gave her confidence in Jesus. And because Jesus is a friend, she candidly asks from Him.
In this great Sacrament of the Eucharist, let us ask Jesus to help us become His good friends.