July 29, 2021
by Luis Rodriguez, S.J.
Creighton University's Jesuit Community
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus
Lectionary: 404/607

Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38
Psalm 84:3, 4, 5-6a and 8a, 11
John 11:19-27 OR Luke 10:38-42
Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

A Renewed Personal Encounter with Jesus

Did Martha feel sorry for herself? Maybe in her heart she blamed Jesus for keeping Mary chatting, but she was not free enough, or assured enough in that friendship, to confront Jesus. Friendships are sensed to be fragile in the early stages and honeymoons tend to avoid confrontations. So, Martha detours the blame toward unhelpful Mary. I call that oblique communication. Are we free enough to “complain” to Jesus directly about his presence in our lives, or do we take it on the people Jesus places in our lives? Do we rather obliquely blame our children, family, bosses, fellow workers or community for the difficulties we experience in our relating to Jesus? We need to pray for growth in our friendship with the Lord, so that we can feel assured enough in that friendship to “confront” the Lord with our difficulties.

Martha, who on that occasion used oblique communication, grew in trust and felt more and more assured in that friendship. After her brother dies, she “complains” to Jesus directly, rather than complaining obliquely by addressing his disciples. In more polite words than these, she effectively tells Jesus: How come you did not come here, when we sent you our message? Martha is not sure about the extent of that friendship, yet she adds: But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of God. She was not sure, but she was assured.

There will be situations in our lives, when we are not sure either of ourselves or of the meaning of our experience in our relationship to God. We are invited to be assured, even when we are not sure.

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