And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In today’s gospel reading we witness the pain of leaving and loss. People come to greet Martha and Mary because their brother, Lazarus, has just died. However, Martha has faith even in the midst of the loss of her brother. When Martha sees that Jesus is among the people, she runs to him and tells Jesus that she believes that Lazarus would still be here if Jesus had been present. Jesus says, “whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”
It seems like Jesus wants Martha to profess her inward faith in him before he goes and performs a great outward miracle in raising Lazarus from the dead. Like Martha, when we walk by faith, even in the absence of outward signs of optimism, we become symbols of hope and life to our families, neighbors, and the global community.
—Kathleen Cullen Ritter serves as Director of Campus Ministry at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, Milwaukee, WI. She attended Marquette University and served with the Jesuit Volunteer Corp in Bend, OR.
Loving God, help me understand that the one thing you want most from me is my presence. Help me realize that my presence is the one gift I can give, and that it is often the only gift that matters. Help me let go of stress, worry, hurt, pain and grudges. All I need is to be more aware of Your presence in my life today and always. Amen.
—Kathleen Cullen Ritter
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