Monday, July 29, 2013

Gospel Reflection

July 29, 2013
Monday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Martha
by Rev. Fr. Joselito "Joey" Martin, SPFY Director, San Carlos Seminary, San Carlos Pastoral Complex, EDSA, Guadalupe, Makati
12:15PM Mass, Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine (Our Lady of Peace Quasi Parish/EDSA Shrine

Moses turned and came down the mountain with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands, tablets that were written on both sides, front and back; tablets that were made by God, having inscriptions on them that were engraved by God himself. Now, when Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “That sounds like a battle in the camp.” But Moses answered, “It does not sound like cries of victory, nor does it sound like cries of defeat; the sounds that I hear are cries of revelry.” As he drew near the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing. With that, Moses’ wrath flared up, so that he threw the tablets down and broke them on the base of the mountain. Taking the calf they had made, he fused it in the fire and then ground it down to powder, which he scattered on the water and made the children of Israel drink.

Moses asked Aaron, “What did this people ever do to you that you should lead them into so grave a sin?” Aaron replied, “Let not my lord be angry. You know well enough how prone the people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us a god to be our leader; as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.’ So I told them, ‘Let anyone who has gold jewelry take it off.’ They gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out.”

On the next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a grave sin. I will go up to the LORD, then; perhaps I may be able to make atonement for your sin.” So Moses went back to the LORD and said, “Ah, this people has indeed committed a grave sin in making a god of gold for themselves! If you would only forgive their sin! If you will not, then strike me out of the book that you have written.” The LORD answered, “Him only who has sinned against me will I strike out of my book. Now, go and lead the people to the place I have told you. My angel will go before you. When it is time for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R. (1a) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

Gospel Jn 11:19-27

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; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “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. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

Jesus entered a village  where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?  Tell her to help me.”  The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”


Today, we celebrate the memorial of St. Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus of Bethany, friend of our Lord Jesus.

Two Sundays ago, the Gospel narrated the Lord's visit to their home, and Martha was pictured as a busy, gracious host who got too pre-occupied with every detail of hospitality, until she came to the Lord with a request that the Lord tells her sister, Mary, to help her in the preparations in the kitchen. She was a busy woman, an active, dynamic person, trying to offer the Lord the best that she could.

In today's Gospel - this time taken from St. John - we once again hear of Martha, the active, dynamic person on the move. When she got the news that Jesus was there to visit them, she went out of her home to welcome the Lord. But between Luke's narration two Sundays ago, and our Gospel for today, we would sense a great change in the person of this woman. Now, we find her still in action, but this time around, her action is deeply motivated by her faith in Jesus. "I have come to believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, and I believe that through You, my brother will rise again on the last day." Here, we find a woman who, despite the grief and sorrow of losing a beloved, was unmoved and remained steadfast and firm in her faith in Jesus.

That is why as we honor St. Martha today, we wish to beg her intercession, that we may all learn from her example. And there are two things we wish to emulate from Martha. First is her eagerness to give her time, energy and talent, to make sure that the Lord would find a welcome into her home, into her heart. This eagerness, this enthusiasm, we also want to learn, to make sure that all these efforts are geared towards welcoming the Lord into our hearts and into our lives. Secondly and finally, we wish also to learn from her this unwavering and steadfast faith in Jesus, most especially, as we face and undergo difficult challenges and experiences in life.

Please be reminded, as we have said earlier in this Gospel, Martha and Mary were still grieving because of the loss of their brother Lazarus. But their grief and their loss was never a reason for them to lose their trust and faith in Jesus. May we learn the same unwavering faith and steadfast trust in the Lord, especially during the most trying and difficult moment in our lives. We continue this celebration begging for her intercession, that through the prayers and example of St. Martha, we, too, may become persons with firm faith in the Lord, and, at the same time, have the eagerness to prepare for the Lord a worthy dwelling place in our hearts.