Memorial of St. Martha
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Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died]. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him…Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died…”
A few lessons learned. St. Martha learned a lot of lessons that day, especially lessons on control, serenity and peace.
Control. I can’t control everything. I can’t even control everything in my life. And I especially cannot control the Lord! That’s a lot of lessons in one day!
“Lord, if you had only been there…” is like saying, “Lord, if you had only listened to me or done what I asked you to do…” Then what? Then what would happen? Thy Will or My Will would be done?
This hunger for power and control originates from original sin, not from human nature; and it is firmly attached to our DNA. Thank God the Lord spliced His grace into our race by the waters of baptism and tears of reconciliation.
I can’t control everything is not a sign of defeat, but the sign of peace.
Peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.“ Christ’s peace is different from that of the world: “Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (cf. Jn 14:27).
And what exactly is this (His) peace? That “all things work for good for those who love God” (cf. Rom 8:28).
At the end of every weekday Mass, I invite everyone in the pews to have “a great day.” But what exactly constitutes a great day? Is it when everything goes according to my plan, or is it when I get everything I ever wanted? Hardly. In both cases, we would be far from God’s idea of a great day.
“Thy Will be Done on earth as it is in heaven.” This is a great day! Good Friday was a great day! Holy Sunday is a great day! Whenever my heart and mind are aligned to Christ’s heart and mind; well, it could be the most painful day ever in my life and still be the greatest day ever in my life!
A great day is a blessed day, regardless of the outcome.
Martha learned this lesson the hard way. Through the death of her beloved brother, she verbalized a secret she had held close to her heart: the identity of Jesus of Nazareth. “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
Even if Lazarus had never come back to life, Martha understood what mattered most: that her Savior lived.
This is a peace that only Christ can give.
Serenity. I like the Serenity prayer, but I don’t love it. I am not a big fan of it because it reads too much like a golden parachute; a sweet agreement between God and man (employee) specifying what benefits and graces the employee (man) will receive.
Did Martha accept the death of her brother with “serenity” and “reasonable happiness”? I think she did, especially when she told the Lord, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.”
But then look what happened. She saw him rise from the dead!
So much for accepting the inevitable.
Martha’s serenity did not come from her knowledge of what she could and could not change, but from her knowledge of who could and could not work miracles.
Another lesson well learned.
St. Martha pray for us! (0)
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