Thứ Sáu, 28 tháng 7, 2017

JULY 29, 2017 : MEMORIAL OF SAINT MARTHA

Memorial of Saint Martha
Lectionary: 400/607

Reading 1EX 24:3-8
When Moses came to the people
and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD, 
they all answered with one voice,
"We will do everything that the LORD has told us."
Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD and,
rising early the next day,
he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar
and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. 
Then, having sent certain young men of the children of Israel
to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice young bulls
as peace offerings to the LORD,
Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls;
the other half he splashed on the altar.
Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people,
who answered, "All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do."
Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying,
"This is the blood of the covenant
that the LORD has made with you
in accordance with all these words of his."

Responsorial PsalmPS 50:1B-2, 5-6, 14-15
R. (14a) Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
God the LORD has spoken and summoned the earth,
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth.
R. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
"Gather my faithful ones before me,
those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice."
And the heavens proclaim his justice;
for God himself is the judge.
R. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
"Offer to God praise as your sacrifice
and fulfill your vows to the Most High;
Then call upon me in time of distress;
I will rescue you, and you shall glorify me."
R. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.

AlleluiaJN 8:12
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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."


Meditation: Martha said to Jesus, "I know he will rise again"
What gives us hope and joy in the face of death? The loss of a loved one naturally produces grief and anguish of heart. When Martha, the sister of Lazarus and a close friend of Jesus, heard that Jesus was coming to pay respects for the loss of Lazarus, she immediately went out to meet him before he could get to her house. What impelled her to leave the funeral party in order to seek Jesus out? Was it simply the companionship and consolation of a friend who loved her brother deeply? Or did she recognize in Jesus the hope that God would restore life?
Jesus strengthens us in faith and hope
Martha, like many Orthodox Jews, believed in the life to come. The loss of her brother did not diminish her hope in the resurrection. She even gently chides Jesus for not coming soon enough to save Lazarus from an untimely death. Jesus does something unexpected and remarkable both to strengthen her faith and hope in the life to come and to give her a sign of what he was to accomplish through his own death and resurrection. Jesus gave to her belief a new and profound meaning: He came from the Father to defeat sin and death for us and to restore life to those who believe in him.
Jesus gives abundant life now and forever
Jesus states unequivocally the he himself is the Resurrection and the Life. The life he offers is abundant life - life which issues from God himself. And everlasting life - the fullness of life which knows no end. Do you seek the abundant life which Jesus offers to those who believe in him?
"Lord Jesus, you are the Resurrection and the Life. Strengthen my faith and hope in your promises that I may radiate the joy of the Gospel to others."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe voice of life and joy that awakens the dead, by Athanasius of Alexandria (295-373 AD)
"I am the voice of life that wakens the dead. I am the good odor that takes away the foul odor. I am the voice of joy that takes away sorrow and grief.… I am the comfort of those who are in grief. Those who belong to me are given joy by me. I am the joy of the whole world. I gladden all my friends and rejoice with them. I am the bread of life" (John 6:35). (excerpt from HOMILY ON THE RESURRECTION OF LAZARUS)

SATURDAY, JULY 29, MATTHEW 13:24-30
(Exodus 24:3-8; Psalm 50)

KEY VERSE: "Let them grow together until harvest" (v 30).
TO KNOW: The parable of the weeds among the wheat is a story of good and evil, which will exist together until the end of the world. The image in this parable would be familiar to the farmers in Jesus' audience. An underhanded man deliberately sowing bad seed in someone else's field was sometimes done. The weed in the story was darnel, a poisonous plant that looked very much like wheat when it was young. So it is with evil; it is difficult to detect in its early stages until it grows strong and destroys what is good. But to pull up the weeds before the wheat matured would endanger its immature roots. When the wheat ripened it grew taller and stronger than the weeds. Then the experienced eye could distinguish the two and easily separate them. Jesus said that it was not the work of God's servants to make this judgment. Both the weeds and the wheat should be allowed to flourish until the harvest when God would separate error from truth.
TO LOVE: Do I tend to be judgmental toward others?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to refrain from judging the actions of others until I know the truth.

Memorial of Saint Martha 

Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus, her brother whom Jesus raised from the dead. The three shared a household in Bethany, and were friends of Jesus. In the famous incident in Luke's gospel (10:38-42), Martha was hostess to Jesus in her house. She demanded that Jesus tell her sister Mary to help her. Jesus commended Mary as choosing the better part, sitting at his feet and listening to his word (singular in the Greek). Martha and her sister Mary were not only related by blood but also by religious aspirations. Christian discipleship is first and foremost devotion to Jesus, the “one thing required” (Lk 10:42). This relationship shows itself in loving service, but without prayer, care for others’ needs may not be love. Martha may have been part of an early mission to France. She is known as the "Wonder Worker of Gaul."
Do not grieve or complain that you were born in a time when you can no longer see God in the flesh. He did not in fact take this privilege from you. As he says, "Whatever you have done to the least of my brothers, you did to me."-- Saint Augustine

Saturday 29 July 2017

St Martha.
Exodus 24:3-8. Psalm 49(50):1-2, 5-6, 14-15. Matthew 13:24-30.
Offer to God a sacrifice of praise — Psalm 49(50):1-2, 5-6, 14-15.
‘Let both grow till the harvest.’
What a beautifully consoling parable. What a wonderful exhortation to patience with ourselves and with others. Often, more aware of our faults than of the richness that lies within, we spend energy trying to root out faults, rather than letting our richness grow. And our awareness of others’ faults blocks our perception of the goodness in them.
In the Eucharist we are called to look at ourselves as we really are and become reconciled to being who we are. Lord, I know you love me with all my limitations and imperfections, even sins.
There are many harvest times in my life when I look back and see the growth of my capacity to trust, to hope and to love. Even with that darn darnel still there!

ST. MARTHA

"Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus" (John 11:5).
Saint Martha is mentioned in three Gospel passages: Luke 10:38-42, John 11:1-53, and John 12:1-9, and the type of friendship between her and her siblings, Mary and Lazarus, with the Lord Jesus is evident in these passages.
In the gospel of Luke, Martha receives Jesus into her home and worries herself with serving Him, a worry that her sister Mary, who sat beside the Lord's feet "listening to Him speak," doesn't share. Her complaint that her sister is not helping her serve draws a reply from the Lord who says to her, "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."
The overanxiousness she displays in serving is put into the right context by Jesus who emphasizes the importance of contemplating Him before all things.
Yet she is seen next in John, outside the tomb of her brother Lazarus who had died four days earlier, as the one who receives the Revelation from the Lord that "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die."
When asked by the Lord if she believed this she said to Him, "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world," displaying her great faith which is confirmed by Jesus' subsequent raising of her brother Lazarus from the grave.

In the third and last instance, we see Martha, again in John, at a house in Bethany where Jesus was reclining at table with her brother Lazarus after he had raised him from the dead. During dinner, John's Gospel tells us, "Martha served." She is revealed here performing the same task as when we first saw her, but now her service is infused with her faith, and the brevity of the description suggests the silence and peace in which she serves as opposed to the nervous anxiety she displayed earlier.  Martha, whom we have seen serving, in Luke, and then believing, earlier in John, is now seen expressing her belief in the action of serving the Lord. "Martha served," and in doing so teaches us the way of Christian life.
Saint Martha is the patron of housewives, servants, waiters and cooks.

LECTIO DIVINA: ST. MARTHA - LK. 10,38-42
Lectio Divina: 
 Saturday, July 29, 2017
Ordinary Time

1) OPENING PRAYER
God our Father and protector,
without you nothing is holy,
nothing has value.
Guide us to everlasting life
by helping us to use wisely
the blessings you have given to the world.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) GOSPEL READING - LUKE 10,38-42
In the course of their journey Jesus came to a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who sat down at the Lord's feet and listened to him speaking. Now Martha, who was distracted with all the serving, came to him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me.'
But the Lord answered, 'Martha, Martha,' he said, 'you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part, and it is not to be taken from her.'
3) REFLECTION
• The dynamics of the account. The condition of Jesus as an itinerant Teacher offers Martha the possibility to receive him in her house. This account presents the attitude of both sisters: Mary sitting down at Jesus’ feet is all taken up listening to his Word; Martha, instead, is taken up completely by many services and she gets close to Jesus to protest about her sister’s behaviour. The dialogue between Jesus and Martha occupies a long space in the account (vv.40b-42): Martha begins with a rhetorical question, “Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself?”; then she asks for the intervention of Jesus so that he can call the sister back to the domestic work which she has abandoned: «Tell her to help me”. Jesus answers in an affectionate tone; this is the sense of the repetition of the name, “Martha, Martha”: he reminds her that she is concerned about “many things”, and in reality she needs “only one” and he concludes recalling that the sister has chosen the best part, and will not be taken away from her. Luke has built up this account on a contrast: the two different personalities of Martha and Mary; the first one is all taken up by “many things”, the second one does not do even one, she is all taken up with listening to the Master. The purpose of this contrast is to underline the attitude of Mary who dedicates herself to listen fully and totally to the Master, thus becoming the model of every believer.
• The person of Martha. She is the one who takes the initiative to receive Jesus in her house. In dedicating herself to receive the Master she is full of anxiety for the multiplicity of things to be prepared and by the tension of seeing herself alone to do it all. She is taken up by so much work, she is anxious, and experiences a great tension. Therefore, Martha “goes to Jesus” and addresses him a legitimate question for help: why should she be left alone by the sister. Jesus answers seeing that she is only worried, she is divided in the heart between the desire of serving Jesus with a meal worthy of his person and the desire to dedicate herself to listen to him. Jesus, therefore, does not disapprove the service of Martha, but only the anxiety with which she does it. But before, Jesus had explained in the parable of the sower that the seed that fell among the thorns recalls the situation of those who listen to the Word, but allow themselves to be taken up by other concerns (Lk 8, 14). Therefore, Jesus does not disapprove the work of Martha, the value of acceptance and welcoming concerning his person but he warns the woman about the risks in which she may fall: the anxiety and agitation. Jesus had already said something about these risks: “Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, and everything else will be given to you as well” (Lk 12, 31).
• The person of Mary. She is the one who accepts the Word: she is described with the imperfect form: “she listened”, a continuing action in listening to the Word of Jesus. Mary’s attitude is in contrast with that full of anxiety and tension of her sister. Jesus says that Mary has preferred “the best part” that corresponds to the listening of his Word. From the Word of Jesus the reader learns that there are not two parts of which one is qualitatively better than the other, but there is only the good one: to accept His Word. This attitude does not mean the evasion from one’s own tasks or daily responsibilities, but only the knowledge that listening to the Word precedes every service, every activity.
• Balance between action and contemplation. Luke is particularly attentive to link listening to the Word, to relationship with the Lord. It is not a question of dividing the day in times dedicated to prayer and others to service, but attention to the Word precedes and accompanies the service. The desire to listen to God cannot be substituted by other activity: it is necessary to dedicate a certain time and place to seek the Lord. The commitment to cultivate listening to the Word comes from the attention to God: everything can contribute: the environment of the place, the time. However, the desire to encounter God should come from within one’s own heart. There is no technical element which automatically leads one to encounter God. It is a problem of love: it is necessary to listen to Jesus, to be with Him, and then the gift is communicated, and falling in love begins. The balance between listening and service involves all believers; in family life as well as in professional and social life: What can we do so that baptized persons persevere and attain the maturity of faith? We should educate ourselves to listen to the Word of God. This is the most difficult but surest way to attain maturity of faith.
4) PERSONAL QUESTIONS
• Do I know how to create in my life situations and itineraries of listening? Do I limit myself only to listen to the Word of God in Church, or rather, do I dedicate myself to personal and profound listening looking for suitable times and places?
• Do you limit yourself to a private use of the Word or do you proclaim it in order to become light for others and not only a lamp which lights one’s own private life?
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
Yahweh, who can find a home in your tent,
who can dwell on your holy mountain?
Whoever lives blamelessly, who acts uprightly,
who speaks the truth from the heart. (Ps 15,1-2)