GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings) DATE: 29TH JULY 2017
GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings)
DATE: 29TH JULY 2017
SATURDAY OF THE SIXTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
(MEMORIAL OF SAINT MARTHA)
FIRST READING: Exodus 24:3-8
PSALM: Psalm 50:1-2, 5-6, 14-15
GOSPEL: John 11:19-27
THEME: FAITH IN DISAPPOINTMENT
Never rejoice that you are a man or woman of faith until you have gone through the tunnel of darkness where disappointment and failure stare at you with piercing eyes and in spite of a broken heart you are able to trust in God.
The death of Lazarus must have been a dark moment in the life of Martha. She apparently did everything possible to save his brother from dying (cf. Jn 11:3). However, when the unexpected happened and the moment of dusk covered her personal world, she picked up her lighted candle of faith and held on to it in the dark.
In the Gospel text for today, Martha makes series of statements of faith when Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, four days after the death of Lazarus. She 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” (Jn 11:21-22).
She goes ahead and professes her faith in the resurrection with these words, “I know that he (Lazarus) will rise again in the resurrection on the last day”(Jn 11:24). To Jesus himself, she said, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world” (Jn 11:27). She never lost her faith when the worst happened to her.
One can imagine the trial of faith that Martha had to undergo during this challenging moment in her life. She may have battled with doubts (cf. Jn. 11:39-40) and yet she kept holding on. Her faith in Jesus was rewarded with the raising of Lazarus from the dead (cf. Jn. 11:43-44).
Sometimes in life things go wrong and everything becomes gloomy and bleak. In such moments, there seem to be an instinctive impulse to drop one’s faith, stop praying, stop reading the Bible, stop going to Church etc. However, Martha, whose memory we recall today, teaches us a different attitude and approach. She teaches us that the gift of faith is given in view of moments like this. When the worst happens, hold on to your faith, do not drop it. Faith gives light when everything is dark.
PRAYER: Eternal Father, we bring before your throne of grace every child of yours going through the dark night of anguish and hopelessness. May the light of faith shine on their path. Raise them up from the valley of the shadow of death and grant them the grace of tenacity and endurance to persevere until your glory shows forth in their lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray with thanksgiving. Amen
Andrews Obeng, svd
DIVINE WORD MISSIONARIES
BIBLICAL PASTORAL MINISTRY
“May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word and the Spirit of grace. And may the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all people” (St. Arnold Janssen).