Today we remember Saint Martha, the woman to whom Jesus directs these powerful words in the Gospel of John: “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” (John 11: 25-26). When Jesus asks her if she truly believes this, Martha offers a prompt, unequivocal reply. Despite her grief for her fallen brother Lazarus, she draws strength from the knowledge that God’s power is infinite and his love eternal. She says yes.
Martha’s assent resonates across time and radiates for us now a beacon of hope in our Christian lives. She reminds us that we must say yes, every day and in every action that we undertake: yes to embracing the path of the righteous, yes to following the steps our Lord has laid out for us, yes to making ourselves stewards of God’s kingdom for as long as we may dwell here on Earth. In his philosophical writings, St. Augustine marvels that God has endowed the human race with a distinctive capacity for free choice of the will. Blessed as we are with this power to choose, we must choose as Martha did. Only then can we really know God and come to attain the salvation that He promises.
At every turn in our own lives, Jesus’ question to Martha confronts us and challenges us to offer our assent. Do we really believe in our eternal life? Do we really know the way to salvation? Are we really committed to living out our full Catholic mission, no matter the cost?
As soon as we choose assent, that choice transforms us. We reach for higher truths, we strive for justice and fellowship, we radiate peace and love, we dare to see what cynicism and despair would tell us is impossible. We wade through obstacles with a firm, steady gait. We bring lux and veritas to a world in dire need of it. We echo Martha’s voice and with eyes fixed to the same divine light, our hearts beat as one in the body of Christ.
On this Memorial of Saint Martha, let us pray that we too might summon her courage in the uncertain months ahead and offer our assent to God, to love, and to announcing the Gospel by our lives.