|Christ in the house of Martha and Mary, by Jan Vermeer, circa 1654-1656|
Memorial of St. Martha, July 29, 2019
Steps to Lectio Divina
Start by using these steps to reflect on the Scripture verse. Then read my meditation slowly.
Lectio: Having asked for the grace to hear God's word, read the passage twice.
Meditatio: During the second reading, pause whenever so moved and reflect on a word, a sentence, or an image that strikes you.
Oratio: Speak directly to God, and open your reflection to Him.
Contemplatio: Listen contemplatively for any response God might choose to make. Remember that God responds to us at times with loving silence.
From the Gospel for July 29, 2019 (John 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.”
“I believe in the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth...” These are familiar words we say on Sundays when we gather for Mass to worship God and declare the great works of the Lord. These words should bring to mind our noble Baptism and the baptismal promises that we professed, or which were professed in our name as a young child.
Like a patient and loving mother, the Church wishes to remind us — concisely and often — of who we are at our core. By reminding us of our Baptism, we remember that we are baptized into Christ’s death as well as His resurrection. This new life is not merely a moral or symbolic one. No, it is a deep spiritual reality which should pervade our whole being, affecting therein what we believe, say, and do.
The Creed culminates with prophetic promises of Christ who “will come again in glory.” This culmination is prophetically witnessed by Martha in today’s reading. By stating, “You are the Christ, the Son of God, the One who is coming,” Martha reminds us that to live as witnesses to Christ, one must also be a witness to His divinity and His resurrection from the dead. To affirm that Jesus is the One who will “come again,” we must recognize that He will also leave — a reference to His dying on a cross.
In our day, all too often Jesus is portrayed very humanly, overshadowing or even disregarding His full divinity. However, when we proclaim that He “will come again,” and that in Him is everlasting life, we announce to the world that Jesus Christ is Lord! We declare that He is God and that He has forever conquered death. Thank goodness that Jesus, since He is also fully human, is seen as approachable in prayer. But how can we so easily forget the earth-shattering truth that He is God?
As a Church we now find ourselves firmly in Ordinary Time, but this does not lessen the fact that the Church is still on a journey. Together we labor as we await the coming of Christ “in glory to judge the living and the dead.”
Callie Nowlin, MTS, is the Director of Religious Education for Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Abbott and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Penelope.
Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
“I believe in the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth...” These are familiar words we say on Sundays when we gather for Mass to worship God and declare the great works of the Lord.