July 29, 2020
by Tamora Whitney
Creighton University's English Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Martha
Lectionary: 403/607

Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
Psalm 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
John 11:19-27 or Luke 10:38-42
Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

A Renewed Personal Encounter with Jesus

Today is the feast of St. Martha. A while back I wrote about Martha and Mary and indicated I was more of a Mary, and when I was married I wasn’t a very good housewife. But since my mother has been disabled by a stroke and I care for her, I’ve had to be more Martha like.

I’m at my mother’s every other day, getting her up and dressed, cooking, cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, getting her a snack, doing all the house stuff I’m not really very good with. My sister and I had been trading off nights to take care of mother, but my sister is an essential worker and still going to work. My school has been closed, so I could quarantine. So to limit mother’s exposure, I’m going to mother and nowhere else, and my sister is not going to mother. So that’s another Mary/Martha switch. I’m the one cooking and cleaning. I’m the one serving and taking care. My sister is going to the store, which is great, since again I can’t risk the exposure. Maybe the real Martha is my nephew who lives with mother and is her primary caregiver. He hasn’t left the house since the virus. I am really very nervous about school opening again. We have a better view now of how to be protective, but I’m still very worried about exposing mother. So I can relate to Martha. She’s doing all the necessary stuff, serving, making sure everyone is fed, but she feels like she’s missing out on some good stuff. Mary gets to sit and enjoy the guests while Martha makes sure the guests are provided for.

When Lazarus dies, Martha and Mary are both very upset of course. A death in the family is always a hard thing. Martha knows Jesus could have healed him, if he had been there. But it’s too late now. Lazarus is dead. The funeral is over. He’s in the tomb – four days. When Jesus does get there, he tells Martha that Lazarus will rise again. She’s heard all the platitudes. We all have. He’s in a better place. Now the suffering is over. We’ll be together again in heaven. And it’s not that they’re not true, but it’s not much comfort for missing the person in your life now. I heard them all when my husband died, and to tell you the truth it didn’t comfort me. But Martha says to Jesus, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” She has faith, but she still misses her brother now.  But Jesus says, “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.”  And in today’s Gospel we don’t even get to the part where her actually dead brother, actually in the tomb for four days, walks out of the tomb, alive again. We end today with Martha’s profession of faith. I can’t really say we aren’t getting the good stuff, even though the ending of that story is pretty amazing, because the ending we get today is her recognition, and faith, and trust. And the care and service she gives her guest is repaid, and her faith is justified.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Sharing this reflection with others by Email, on Facebook or Twitter:

Email this pageFacebookTwitter

Print Friendly

See all the Resources we offer on our Online Ministries Home Page

Daily Reflection Home

Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook