Feast of Saint Martha
In Exodus we read that Moses is binding the people to God more deeply through both their own verbal promise to keep the Covenant and the offering and sprinkling of blood upon them. The sprinkling of blood upon the altar was a common practice in the time of the Hebrews when a sacrifice was made. Covenants were also common when agreements were made between two people or groups of people. Using blood made the covenant that much more binding than the verbal agreement. Through these actions Moses is letting the people know that the Covenant between them and God is a serious one, not to be taken lightly. The people now have a greater commitment. Today, in our own faith, we have the Sacraments of Initiation that allows us to make commitments to God. The Sacrament of Confirmation made us full members of the People of God and opened the doors to the other Sacraments and graces. Today might be a good time to remember and reflect on those times in our lives when we received the Sacraments of Initiation and what we felt deep within us at the time.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus and Martha have a conversation where Martha makes several faith statements about her belief “in the resurrection on the last day”. The last statement she makes is that she believes “you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” In the Gospels, when Jesus is healing someone it is through that person’s faith or the faith of others that the person is healed. Martha, a woman who is portrayed as to busy to pray in the Gospel of Luke, is the one who has faith that Jesus is going to heal her brother or raise him from the dead in the Gospel of John. Jesus responds to her with one of the “I Am” statements:
“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.”
This conversation between Martha and Jesus might be a Covenant dialog. Martha makes her statements of faith and Jesus replies with the promise of eternal life. Martha’s faith and the faith of the Apostles was not perfect. They kept trying to understand the message. And that is what we do when we say the Nicene Creed at Mass on Sunday. We are making our statement of faith as best as we can. Taking time to hear God’s response, engaging God in our own covenant dialog could possibly be an opportunity to deepen our relationship with God and grow deeper in our faith.
Linda Schork is a theology teacher at Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky