Homily by Deacon Jay Ziolkowski

When ever we read about St. Martha in the scriptures, the image of an active and work-oriented as well as a task-oriented person comes to mind.  For me, it brings images to mind of my mother, whose name was Mary, but at holiday times was the personification of Martha.  I can remember her rushing about the kitchen preparing various dishes and serving them at the proper time and proper temperature.  She never stopped until everyone had their fill and then she was exhausted.

When Martha invited Jesus to her home in Bethany, she was caught up with making sure everyone was fed and their needs were met. And then poor Martha just had to go and complain to Jesus about her sister Mary.  Jesus would tell Martha that she worried too much and her sister Mary had chosen be with Jesus.

Martha must have remembered what Jesus said to her, so despite the death of her brother, she went out to seek Jesus and expressed her faith in Him.  “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”  And that’s where today’s Gospel ends.  We don’t get to see the Lazarus come out of the tomb.

“Faith without works is dead,” so St. James wrote in his epistle.  Mary had faith in Jesus.  Martha was occupied in works.  But it was Martha in the end who combined both her works and faith in Jesus Christ.

We see that the characters of Martha and Mary are described as seemingly opposites but in reality, they are complementary, interconnected and interdependent.  Martha is an example for all of us who are so active and busy at work, but yet take the time to reflect in prayer and to discover who Jesus is.

Remember with prayer and works:  They are complementary, interconnected and interdependent. And at the end of the day we can truly rest in the presence of Jesus Christ.