Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus
“. . . you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”
During my recent trip to California, I was able to attend Sunday liturgy at San Carlos Cathedral in Monterey. This is the longest active church in the State of California, established by Saint Junipero Serra. This was the place where my maternal grandmother made her first communion and possibly the place where she and my grandfather were married. It was the first time that I had been in this church and I spent some time during and after mass to reflect on the faith of my grandparents and how that effected my faith life. My thoughts went to the many people who had worshipped and supported the parish for over 200 years. How the present members are passing on that faith to others in the community. Certainly a strong testament to the deep roots of faith that have sustained the area for so long.
Who are the people in your life that helped you to grow in your faith as a child, teenager, adult?
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 just as my ancestors and the people of San Carlos Cathedral are practicing every day. 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.