Feast of Saint Martha
“. . . you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”
In the first reading, Moses has come down from the mountain to the Hebrews praising a golden calf. Aaron explains the situation to Moses as if he had no control over the situation. I have this picture in my mind that Moses is looking at Aaron in disbelief and disappointment. In disgust, the next day, Moses again ascends the mountain to plead with the LORD, to make atonement for the Hebrew’s sin. He is not the one to atone for their sin. The LORD responds to Moses saying that the people are responsible for their own sin. Moses asks to be struck from the book that the LORD has written. This is in reference to those who are faithful to the LORD. Possible being struck from the book could mean death. The LORD’S response is to only strike from the book those who have sinned against the LORD. While Moses is the one chosen to lead the people to the Promise Land he is not the one to free them from their sin.
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. What Moses was not allowed to accomplish, Jesus is the one God has chosen to free people from their sin and to give eternal life. 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.