Jn 11:19-27 (or Lk 10:38-42)
Many Jews had come to Martha and Mary after the death of their brother, to comfort them.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him while Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection, at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection; whoever believes in me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Martha then answered, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.”
In today’s gospel reading notice Martha’s answer to the question of Jesus. Jesus asks her, “Do you believe this?” That is: do you accept as true that whoever believes in me will have life and will not even die? Jesus questions Martha about something, about her certainty of a continued life. Martha gives an answer which bears on the person of Jesus. She does not answer, “Yes, I believe that I shall not die,” but rather “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.” This shows that the Christian faith is not a faith in things, be it a world restored to its primal innocence, but a faith in the person of Jesus Christ, Son of God. Faith in Jesus himself is absolutely first; all the rest comes after.
Notice, too, that Martha’s profession of faith is almost identical to that of Peter at Caesarea Philippi (Mt 16:16), whose profession of faith has been endlessly celebrated across the centuries as an extraordinary spiritual breakthrough. But no one mentions that our simple Martha uttered the same profession of faith in practically the same words. How can we explain this onesidedness? Is it because Martha is a “mere” woman and not an apostle?
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