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10 minutes with Jesus. Today: Dear Martha

by 10 Minutes with Jesus
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10 minutes wih Jesus are group of Catholic priests who share friendship with Jesus, plus keenness to help young people of all ages to learn the art of loving Jesus and speaking to Him. You can find them in WhatsApp, Spotify, Ivoox, Telegram, Goggle Podcasts and Apple Podcast. Every saturday, we are going to share one meditation by 10 minutes with Jesus. Enjoy it.

My Lord and my God, I firmly believe that you are here, that you see me and that you hear me. I adore you with profound reverence. I ask your pardon for my sins, and the grace to make this time of prayer fruitful. My Immaculate Mother, St. Joseph, my father and Lord, my Guardian Angel, intercede for me.

Martha, a delightful woman

Today we’re going to pray about one of the less prominent but most attractive figures in the New Testament. I have in mind Saint Martha. This wonderful figure Saint Martha. What a delightful woman she is! What a delightful figure in the New Testament! And so we’re going to pray a little bit about her and what she has to teach us on this feast. In many ways, she’s the sort of the second fiddle to Mary, and the poor, the poor thing she always sort of comes off worse. Doesn’t she? You know, Mary, her sister, is the one who is vindicated, who’s proven right. We all know what happens. Our Lord goes to dine with these three siblings: Martha, Mary and Lazarus. And there, Jesus, we see how much you enjoyed being with these, and they were your friends. Jesus, we want to be your friends so you can rest with us. Jesus had been in Jerusalem facing the hostility, the tests, the trials, the traps, which the Priests and Pharisees were trying to lay for him, and just a couple of miles outside of Jerusalem is Bethany.

Martha, Mary and Lazaru

So the end of a really stressful day, Lord, when you had to be constantly on your guard, you would go out to these three siblings: Martha, Mary and Lazarus, just to rest a bit, to be in the company of those you loved. And we can understand just how good you felt with them. They were such a delightful trio: Martha, the outspoken one, who said what she thought, and then Mary, the contemplative one, the praying one, but also one capable of extraordinary lavish expressions of love. Like that time, Jesus, when she put out the pure nard on your feet, really expensive ointment and wiped it with her hair. The aroma of that fragrance filled the house, and in a sense, fills the world, fills the Church still today with your wonderful lesson, Mary, of love and generosity. And Lazarus, well, as a good man, I can sympathize with Lazarus because Lazarus’s job is basically to eat, which I’m all in favor of. Certainly, I’m more in favor of eating. He just dines with our Lord.

And Mary prays

I’m afraid to say the sisters do the work. Well, at least one of them does: Martha, and Mary prays, and Lazarus eats. But in his defense, let’s not be too tough on Lazarus because, in a sense, he has the hardest job of all: he has to die. And he dies. And you, Jesus, after delay, you come to raise him from the dead, but we’ll come back to that in a moment. So Martha, in many ways, as I said, the second fiddle to Mary. We’re here. Well, let’s just read the Gospel passage: Now, as they went on the way, he entered the village and a woman named Martha received him into her house. You get the sense that she’s the boss, she’s the one who wears the trousers. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. Jesus, that’s what we’re doing now. We are sitting at your feet and you, my friend, are listening to this poor priest who is speaking to you in Christ’s name but he’s trying to give you the Lord’s teaching. 

My sister has left me alone

Let’s really try to do that in our prayer: to sit at the Lord’s feet. But Martha was distracted with much serving and she went to him and said Lord, you don’t care that my sister has left me to serve alone. Tell her then to help me. I love to contemplate the scene. I can imagine Martha with her legs slightly open, her hands on her waist, on her hips, a bit flustered and red around the face. She’d been noticing Mary just sitting there. She’s getting more and more busy trying to deal with all that needed to be done to feed Jesus, to feed the Apostles. All that extra work. And she’s getting annoyed and she says to Jesus. It comes out. It explodes. She just has to say it. She can’t hold it back anymore. And I can imagine her, as I said, sort of a bit flustered hot red saying what she thought, she had to say, and expecting you, Jesus, to agree with her, expecting you to say Martha, you’re absolutely right. Mary, get off you and get moving. Stop being so lazy. Can’t you see that your poor sister is doing all this work?

A different answer

But, you don’t do that, Lord Jesus. Your answer couldn’t be more different. But the Lord answered her Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. One thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion which shall not be taken away from her. Jesus, what affection you show in your repetition of Martha’s name. Martha, Martha. This is no rebuke. Or if it is, it’s the most tender, the most affectionate rebuke of all. And dearest Martha, I’d like to see you as a friend. I think I would have liked you. You teach us such a wonderful lesson because you talk to our Lord with complete frankness. What a wonderful way to pray. What’s in your heart you tell him. It comes out. You are a teacher of prayer in your own way. We like to think of Mary as the prayer and Martha as the doer, and there’s an aspect of truth there, but Martha teaches us here how to pray, and you are so frank with Jesus, and he responds with equal frankness. What a beautiful lesson. If we speak to Jesus, if we tell him what’s in our heart, he’ll tell us what he wants to tell us. He’ll be open back to us. Jesus, thank you. That’s how we want our relationship to be. We tell you what’s bugging us and you tell us what you think about what we’ve just told you. You correct us if we need corrective. And you remind us that there’s nothing better than making time for prayer. So yes, Martha is a prayer, but of course we need to consciously make time to prayer, to pray, to sit at our Lord’s feet. 

Minutes

In the last couple of minutes that remained, let’s just turn to that other episode when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. So once again our Lord is with his friends. He’s in Bethany. Saint Josemaria used to tell us that, particularly in Opus Dei, our centers, that our oratories, our churches have to be Bethany, where Jesus feels loved, where he can relax. So we hear that Lazarus has fallen ill. Lord, he whom you love is ill. What a lovely way to put it that Jesus loves Lazarus. Anyway. We need to cut a long story short. And soon, soon Lazarus will die. Even though Jesus delayed, in fact, somehow, it seems that precisely by delaying, it caused or allowed Lazarus to die, but we’ll we learn that this was all part of Christ’s plan. A good lesson for us too. When God seems to delay to hear us and it could seem a disaster, but all this is for the greater glory of God. Anyway. Jesus eventually arrives. By this time, Lazarus is dead. Martha said to Jesus. She goes out again, the energetic one. Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.

a wonderful lesson

And here Martha gives us a wonderful lesson in faith. And even now, I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you. Jesus said to her your brother will rise again. Master shows a wonderful belief in the resurrection of the dead, which wasn’t a common belief at the time. So in that sense, she, as it were believed, her ahead of her time, she was among those few Jews who did believe. Martha said to him I know that he will rise again, in the resurrection, at the last day. 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? And Martha declares her faith. Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the son of God, who is coming into the world.

And Mary comes out

Anyway. Mary comes out, her weeping, seems to be one of her best weeping, her tears gets Jesus to weep. Jesus weeps himself, but again Martha comes back into the action. Jesus said take away the stone. Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him Lord, by this time, there will be an odor for he has been dead four days. Again she speaks directly to Jesus, but again our Lord answers her with equal frankness. Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God? They take away the stone and Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Martha, we want to learn from you to have that confident, trusting relationship with Jesus. You, in that and in so many ways, in your generosity, your kindness, your goodness, your humanity, can be such a lesson for us, teaching us how we too can relate to Jesus.

It´s the end

I give you thanks, my God, for the good solutions, affections and inspirations that you have communicated to me in this meditation. I ask your help to put them into effect. My Immaculate Mother, Saint Joseph, my father and Lord, my Guardian Angel, intercede for me. 

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