Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
Woe is me, my mother, that you ever bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land! I have not lent, nor have I borrowed, yet all of them curse me.
Your words were found, and I ate them,
and your words became to me a joy
and the delight of my heart;
for I am called by your name,
O Lord, God of hosts.
I did not sit in the company of merrymakers,
nor did I rejoice;
under the weight of your hand I sat alone,
for you had filled me with indignation.
Why is my pain unceasing,
my wound incurable,
refusing to be healed?
Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook,
like waters that fail.
Therefore thus says the Lord:
If you turn back, I will take you back,
and you shall stand before me.
If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
you shall serve as my mouth.
It is they who will turn to you,
not you who will turn to them.
And I will make you to this people
a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you,
but they shall not prevail over you,
for I am with you
to save you and deliver you,
says the Lord.
I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.
Psalm 59:2-4, 10-11, 17-18
Deliver me from those who work evil;
from the bloodthirsty save me.
Even now they lie in wait for my life;
the mighty stir up strife against me.
For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,
for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.
Rouse yourself, come to my help and see!
O my strength, I will watch for you;
for you, O God, are my fortress.
My God in his steadfast love will meet me;
my God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.
But I will sing of your might;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been a fortress for me
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love.
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.”
In our readings from the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah and the psalmist place their hope in the Lord in the face of adversity and proclaim God to be their fortress and redemption. And in our gospel, Martha places the ultimate trust in Jesus, in professing her hope in Him in the face of death and proclaiming Jesus to be the Messiah. At the point in time when Martha made this statement of faith, not all Jews believed in the resurrection of the dead (the Sadducees did not). Furthermore, the resurrection hope was not fully understood, as it would not be fully revealed until Jesus’s resurrection from the dead. But Martha professed her belief that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God Himself, who both humbles and exalts, brings low and raises up again. Without even knowing what He Himself would do for Lazarus or accomplish in His own body for the redemption of all, Martha believed that through Jesus somehow her brother would live again.
In life and through death, we often find ourselves needing to believe in Jesus as our hope, our redemption, and our defense when we do not have complete understanding of how things will play out or how God will act. On the large scale, we face adversity in the form of the pandemic and its repercussions, unrest, and threats to justice and freedom. On the personal scale, we may have enemies and persecutors like Jeremiah, or be facing sickness and death of loved ones like Mary, or facing our own mortality. Like Jeremiah, we may feel some bitterness towards God even though we love and delight in His law. Like Martha, we may have God in a box, thinking we know how things will play out and not remembering to look to Him as master over this current moment and situation in our lives just as He is master over eternity and the cosmos. But God answers both Jeremiah and Martha in their situations, urging them to trust in Him for salvation. God makes up what is lacking in their faith and understanding with His revelation, His presence, and His love.
Today, let’s ask Saint Martha for her intercession in seeking Jesus’s redemption of our most hopeless situations, darkest fears, and bitterest griefs. Let’s trust in His mercy and look to His revelation, His presence, and His love to complete our understanding and make up what is lacking in our faith that He can and will bring us through the crucible of adversity and death to the life that never dies.