Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu
“Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you” (John 11:21-22).
A few days ago, we celebrated the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, a woman who loved Jesus and was not afraid to display it. Today we are celebrating another woman who was also very close to Jesus; Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus. Recently, our Gospel passage took us to that familiar scene in the Bethany home of Mary and Martha where Jesus often went with His disciples. On this particular occasion, Martha served while her sister Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to Him.
In today’s Gospel, we are presented with events following the death of their brother, Lazarus who was also a close friend of Jesus. Upon hearing that Jesus was on His way to the house, Martha (a hyper-active Sanguine) could not wait for Jesus to enter the house. She ran to meet Him on the road while Mary sat still inside the house. Martha was the one who said to Jesus, “IF YOU HAD BEEN HERE, MY BROTHER WOULD NOT HAVE DIED.” This statement is one that expresses how difficult it can be to combine faith in God’s existence with evil in the world. For Martha and for many today, the fact that a lot of evils happen in the world today is a sign that God is absent from this world. When bad things happen to us, we tell ourselves “if God was here, so and so would not happen.” However, as we see in this occasion, Jesus was fully aware of the situation and He deliberately decided to wait four days before showing up.
God’s ways are not our ways. We only need to trust God when we pray knowing that whatever be the outcome of our prayers is exactly the best for us. On this particular occasion, Jesus did not show up on time so as to use the occasion to prove to the world that He is God; that He has power over life and death. The fact that your prayers were not answered does not mean God is angry with you. It does not mean prayers are powerless. It only indicates that God had something better in place for you. Jesus said to Martha, “Your brother will rise again,” but Martha did not understand what Jesus meant. She had lost all hope of seeing Lazarus in flesh and blood again. She said: “I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.” Dear friends, do not be too quick to give up on God. Do not be too quick to conclude that your prayers are not working. I have heard many say: “I don pray tire, yet nothing dey happen.” As far as God is concerned, it is never too late. Jesus said to her: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
This question is the most important question we would have to answer individually: “Do you believe this?” Do you believe that even now, it is not too difficult for God to change your situation? Do you believe that what you thought was impossible can still happen? Martha’s response was greatly instrumental to this miracle. She said “Yes, Lord; I believe…” The life of St. Martha teaches us the need for closeness to Jesus; the need to work for Jesus. Martha expressed her love for Jesus by cooking for Him and forever she would be remembered for this. How am I expressing my love for Jesus? What stops me from cooking even a single meal today to feed one or two poor people around me so that in that way Jesus would eat? On the last day, this little act of kindness would be remembered on our behalf: “When I was hungry, you fed me; now enter into the home of my father.” Let us pray: Lord Jesus, increase my faith in your power to do the impossible, Amen.