Wednesday, 29 July 2020 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the Church celebrates the feast of one of the more renowned saints as she was mentioned in several occasions in the Gospels. St. Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus and featured prominently during the time when the Lord visited her household and also when Lazarus died and was resurrected by the Lord. They were considered as the close friends and disciples of the Lord.

St. Martha was remembered most for the moment when the Lord came to visit her house, and she was very busy preparing everything to serve the Lord and to show Him the best hospitality that she could offer. However, in doing so, she had in fact forgotten that she spent most of her time being busy in preparing all the hospitality and service rather than attending to the Lord and listening to Him, as Mary her sister had done.

Initially St. Martha was angry and unhappy that her sister had left her to do all the preparations, and she even told the Lord of her issues and asked Him to tell her sister to help her in her work and preparation. But the Lord kindly reminded St. Martha and told her that she had not done what she should have done, and that in fact her sister had chosen the right course of action. In her preoccupation with preparing for the Lord’s coming, St. Martha had been distracted and forgot that first and foremost, she had to be there for the Lord.

Instead, she allowed herself to be sucked into the procedures and details, into the things that she thought would impress the Lord as a good hostess and friend, not realising that she had spent the precious time she should have spent with the Lord away from Him, in the kitchen or elsewhere in the house. That is also why the Lord reminded her that her sister Mary had done the right thing, by doing what mattered the most, that is to be with the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in our own lives, we are perhaps often like St. Martha, in how we have lived our lives. We may have been so busy with our lives and been so preoccupied with the many things and concerns we have in life that all of us have often forgotten about God and put Him aside for those other concerns and things we desire in life. We are often too busy to even notice how He has always cared for us and provided for us, even when we have been wayward and delinquent with our lives so far.

St. Martha reminded us all that even sometimes we can be busy and preoccupied to a fault, being particular and detailed to a fault but we forget the most important aspect of life itself and that is to focus ourselves and our attention on God. It is very easy otherwise for us to lose our focus and be distracted as St. Martha herself has experienced. But now that we know and have been reminded of this, it is then up to us how we want to proceed forward in life from now on.

Are we able and willing to detach ourselves from the attachment to our busy life schedules, especially to our work and profession, as well as our attachments to other pursuits in life? It is not that we cannot have job or be busy, but rather, we need to ask ourselves, what is truly, our priority in life? There are people who genuinely work hard because they need to earn to support their families and loved ones, but many among us seek for many unhealthy pursuits and addictions in life.

Instead of being tempted and swayed by the pursuits of power, glory, material wealth and fame, pleasures of the body and mind, among many others, all of which are distractions and are in fact leading us away from God, let us rather redirect our lives and our emphasis and focus, that like Mary, the sister of St. Martha, we find the true treasure and focus of our lives, that is God, knowing that in Him alone we can find true happiness, joy and satisfaction.

There are many things we desire in life, and we certainly know it. And we also know how all these desires cannot be fully satisfied one, as when we have what we want, we have the tendency to crave and desire even more, and that is why we fall into the trap of our routines, our busy activities and being distracted in life, and forget about God. Let us all therefore rediscover our love for God, and reorientate our lives once again towards Him from now on.

May the Lord help us in our journey and may He strengthen each and every one of us in our faith, that we may find our true focus in God, and that we may seek for what we will never lose, that is the love of God and to focus ourselves on Him, rather than on the mundane and repetitive schedules and preoccupations in life, to focus on God’s love rather than on our own desires, our own greed and wants, our own pursuits for the fleeting and temporary pleasures of the world. May the Lord bless us all and may St. Martha intercede for us sinners always. Amen.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 11 : 19-27

At that time, many Jews had come to Martha and Mary, after the death of their brother, to comfort them. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, while Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.” Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha replied, “I know that He will rise in the resurrection, at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha then answered, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He Who is coming into the world.”

Alternative reading

Luke 10 : 38-42

At that time, as Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He entered a village, and a woman called Martha welcomed Him to her house. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet to listen to His words. Martha, meanwhile, was busy with all the serving, and finally she said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to help me!”

But the Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Wednesday, 29 July 2020 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

I will praise YHVH all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes its boast in YHVH; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

Oh, let us magnify YHVH; together, let us glorify His Name! I sought YHVH, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, YHVH hears and saves them from distress.

YHVH’s Angel encamps and patrols, to keep safe those who fear Him. Oh, see and taste the goodness of YHVH! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

Revere YHVH, all you, His saints, for those who fear Him do not live in want. The mighty may be hungry and in need; but those who seek YHVH lack nothing.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 4 : 7-16

My dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves, is born of God and knows God. Those who do not love have not known God, for God is love. How did the love of God appear among us? God sent His only Son into this world, that we might have life, through Him.

This is love : not that we loved God, but that, He first loved us and sent His Son, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if such has been the love of God, we, too, must love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love comes to its perfection in us.

How may we know that we live in God and He in us? Because God has given us His Spirit. We ourselves have seen, and declare, that the Father sent His Son to save the world. Those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in them, and they in God. We have known the love of God and have believed in it. God is love. The one who lives in love, lives in God, and God in him.

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.

Monday, 29 July 2019 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 11 : 19-27

At that time, many Jews had come to Martha and Mary, after the death of their brother, to comfort them. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, while Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.” Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha replied, “I know that He will rise in the resurrection, at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha then answered, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He Who is coming into the world.”

Alternative reading

Luke 10 : 38-42

At that time, as Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He entered a village, and a woman called Martha welcomed Him to her house. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet to listen to His words. Martha, meanwhile, was busy with all the serving, and finally she said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to help me!”

But the Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Monday, 29 July 2019 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

I will praise YHVH all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes its boast in YHVH; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

Oh, let us magnify YHVH; together, let us glorify His Name! I sought YHVH, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, YHVH hears and saves them from distress.

YHVH’s Angel encamps and patrols, to keep safe those who fear Him. Oh, see and taste the goodness of YHVH! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

Revere YHVH, all you, His saints, for those who fear Him do not live in want. The mighty may be hungry and in need; but those who seek YHVH lack nothing.

Monday, 29 July 2019 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 4 : 7-16

My dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves, is born of God and knows God. Those who do not love have not known God, for God is love. How did the love of God appear among us? God sent His only Son into this world, that we might have life, through Him.

This is love : not that we loved God, but that, He first loved us and sent His Son, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if such has been the love of God, we, too, must love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love comes to its perfection in us.

How may we know that we live in God and He in us? Because God has given us His Spirit. We ourselves have seen, and declare, that the Father sent His Son to save the world. Those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in them, and they in God. We have known the love of God and have believed in it. God is love. The one who lives in love, lives in God, and God in him.