Reflections

ST MARTHA, WEDNESDAY, JULY 29, 2020

FAITHFUL FRIEND OF THE LORD
Introduction
Jeremiah is the first of the prophets to call God into account. Since he has given his life to God and his God-given mission, how come that he has to suffer so much to do God’s work? God’s answer is: Be converted. Trust in God even in your doubt and continue your mission. It is our lot and way to live with doubts and problems, and still to trust God. He is with us, even if we do not see it. That, precisely, is faith.
Martha. To serve without being asked, to be ready for others. To be given little publicity but to work backstage. Not to ask for honours and pass on the shoulder but to do one’s work quietly. This is how she followed the Lord. And her faith was deep and strong in Christ as the Son of God who could raise the dead back to life.

Opening Prayer
We honor today Saint Martha
as a woman of faith
and an unobtrusive servant of people
Give us her faith in Christ
as the Lord of life
and the first fruits of the resurrection.
Make us willing servants of one another
who attend to others in their need.
We ask your this through Christ our Lord.

1 Reading: Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
Woe to me, mother, that you gave me birth! a man of strife and contention to all the land! I neither borrow nor lend, yet all curse me. When I found your words, I devoured them; they became my joy and the happiness of my heart, Because I bore your name, O LORD, God of hosts. I did not sit celebrating in the circle of merrymakers; Under the weight of your hand I sat alone because you filled me with indignation. Why is my pain continuous, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? You have indeed become for me a treacherous brook, whose waters do not abide! Thus the LORD answered me: If you repent, so that I restore you, in my presence you shall stand; If you bring forth the precious without the vile, you shall be my mouthpiece. Then it shall be they who turn to you, and you shall not turn to them; And I will make you toward this people a solid wall of brass. Though they fight against you, they shall not prevail, For I am with you, to deliver and rescue you, says the LORD. I will free you from the hand of the wicked, and rescue you from the grasp of the violent.

Responsorial Psalm 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
R. (17d) God is my refuge on the day of distress.

Rescue me from my enemies, O my God;
from my adversaries defend me.
Rescue me from evildoers;
from bloodthirsty men save me. R.

For behold, they lie in wait for my life;
mighty men come together against me,
Not for any offense or sin of mine, O LORD. R.

O my strength! for you I watch;
for you, O God, are my stronghold,
As for my God, may his mercy go before me;
may he show me the fall of my foes. R.

But I will sing of your strength
and revel at dawn in your mercy;
You have been my stronghold,
my refuge in the day of distress. R.

O my strength! your praise will I sing;
for you, O God, are my stronghold,
my merciful God! R.

Alleluia John 8:12
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: John 11:19-27
Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died]. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

Commentary
A little beyond the end of today’s reading there is the shortest verse in the Bible. It is Jn 11:35, and it says simply, “Jesus wept.” It shows sensitivity in the people who first divided the Scriptures into chapters and verses. They could easily have put these words with the following verse; it would even have been logical: the following verse is, “So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’” When someone weeps you just have to give them time to weep. Weeping may be saying a lot, it is a universal language, and it doesn’t require an answer or an explanation. There are two occasions in the gospel when Jesus told people not to weep (Lk 7:13; 8:52). On both occasions, there was an error of fact: the persons being mourned were not dead. But in today’s story there is no doubt about Lazarus being dead. So, Jesus wept; he did not take death lightly. He is sometimes made to seem a sort of magician who “leaped up on the third day.” If we make little of death, we make little of the resurrection.
Nor can we make little of Martha. She is not playing second fiddle to Mary (especially not in this passage). With Peter’s, hers is the most explicit confession of Jesus as Messiah—which is the whole purpose for which the gospel was written (Jn 20:30,31). A scholar says that this points to the prominent role women like Martha played in the early Church.

Intercessions
– For all Christians, that they may hold dear their faith and their life in Christ and keep living up to their convictions, we pray:
– For the leaders of nations, that as they work for prosperity and progress they may not lose sight of what is essential, that is: people, and the deepest human values, we pray:
– For our young people, that their parents and the Church may hand on to them their living faith and the spirit to serve God and people well, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
create between you and us
a holy communion of love.
Come among us in Jesus Christ
in this Eucharist and in daily life
and reign in us, take possession of us,
to rule and forgive, to sanctify and enlighten,
to lead us and to renew us by your grace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
God our Father,
in this Eucharistic celebration
you have again given us your own Son.
Let him nourish in us the growth of your kingdom.
May he open our eyes to the goodness
and yet the relative value of the things of this earth
and let him help us realize
that our human personality and existence
is nothing else than the concrete manner
in which you call us
and in which we respond to your call
to build up your kingdom.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

Blessing
We know we are dear to God. May God and our faith and God’s kingdom be our joy and treasure. Let us be faithful friends of Jesus. May God be our happiness and may he bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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