St. Martha

In today’s Gospel the story of Martha reminds us that faith is not just an action; it is a journey, and that journey can take us to unexpected and unimaginable places. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of a faith that is fixed on a specific desired outcome: I believe, and I want this to happen. Faith has to always be exercised with a spirit of openness to the will of God: there are certain outcomes we’d like, but God is free to act as he chooses and in a way we may not expect.

Martha today shows a faith that is open to whatever Our Lord can do. When Jesus reminds her that her brother Lazarus will rise, she thinks Our Lord is consoling her with the Jewish belief in a resurrection at the end of time. She had placed her faith in Jesus coming and healing Lazarus before his death, but she also believed Our Lord could ask anything from God. She didn’t imagine that “anything” would be raising Lazarus from the dead then and there, after he’d been in the grave for three days. Imagine her surprise and delight when Our Lord ordered the tomb to be opened and called Lazarus out. Her faith led her to something unexpected and unimaginable: her dead brother restored to her, alive and healthy.

Faith is not just an action; it is a journey. Let’s ask Our Lord to help us always to ask for what we need, but also to go from there along whatever path of faith he reveals to us.

Readings: John 11:19–27.