Monday, 29 July 2019 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture explaining to us about the love which God has for each and every one of us, His beloved ones, and therefore how, by right all of us should thus also show the same love, care and attention to God, in the way that He Himself has loved us so wonderfully from the very beginning of time. God had never stopped loving us and so should we.

On this day we listened to St. John who wrote in his Epistle about the love of God which He has given to us, not just in intangible terms, but in truth, has presented itself in the most tangible way possible, as the love of God has been made Man, in the flesh, in the person of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man. He is the Divine Word of God, the Son Who has been sent into this world and assumed the fullness of our humanity.

And how did God’s love manifest itself? We ourselves see a glimpse of His love in our Gospel passage today, when the Lord Jesus came to His good friend Lazarus who just died after suffering from a serious sickness for days. Martha, his sister, came to the Lord and she had faith in Him that He would be able to do what was considered impossible, that Lazarus would be raised from the dead back into life.

In the context of today’s Gospel, although it was not mentioned, but the Lord raised Lazarus from the dead in the sight of the many people who had come to the place to grief with Mary and Martha, his sisters. The people who saw that miraculous deed of God rejoiced and gave thanks to God for the love He has shown to His people. And that was just a foretaste of what the Lord would be doing for them.

For God indeed so loved the world that He extends the same love and saving grace to all of His people, by embracing the suffering and pain of the Cross. The Lord Jesus willingly took up His Cross and bore it on His own shoulders, agreeing to suffer for our sake and in our stead, bearing those same burdens that we have received because of our sins. He bore His wounds and the torture, all the agony and pain so that by His suffering, we may be freed from our fated destruction due to our sins.

Today, all of us celebrate the feast of St. Martha, the same Martha who was the sister of Lazarus, the man whom the Lord Jesus raised from the dead. According to the Gospels, the same St. Martha was also the one whom the Lord Jesus reminded when she and her sister welcomed Him into their house, and St. Martha was busy preparing for all the things and chores to welcome the Lord. The Lord reminded her that she was focusing on the wrong things by preoccupying herself with so many things.

Now, having heard of what we have just talked about God’s love and how much He has loved us all, and on St. Martha, who was once reminded by the Lord not to focus on the wrong things in life, but to focus herself wholly on Him, let us all reflect then on our own lives and how we have lived them thus far. Have we loved God as we should, or have we instead been so busy and been so preoccupied by so many things in life as St. Martha had once done, that we have sidelined God and even forgotten about Him?

All of us must embrace God’s love and understand just how great His love for each and every one of us is, without any exception. He has gone through so much Himself for our sake, and suffered so much for us all, to free us from the power and bondage to sin and death. So it is just right and true for us to love Him as much as we can, to the best of our abilities.

Let us all therefore follow the examples of St. Martha and all of our holy saints, those who have lived their lives faithfully, and like St. Martha, who grew in faith and showed her faith and dedication to God in believing wholeheartedly in His love, by which He has rescued and liberated all of us, His beloved people. Let us all love the Lord all the more, each and every single days of our lives from now on. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

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