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FRIDAY OF THE 17 WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME 2016
SAINT MARTHA - MEMORIAL
Jeremiah 14:17-22; John 11:19-27
(by Fr Aelred Nilo, OSB)

The international Barbadian singer Rihanna popularized a Dancehall song where it depicts a woman protesting to her man because all he seems to do is work. The lyrics go this way:

Work, work, work, work, work, work
He say to me, “Have to work, work, work, work, work, work!”
He see me do, me dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt!
So, me put in work, work, work, work, work, work. When you all gone?
Learn, learn, learn, learn, learn
Me, no care if him, hurt, hurt, hurt, hurt, hurting.

An article by Jacquelyn Smith identified 15 signs that your job is ruining your marriage or relationship. Here are some of the signs you can identified with:
1. You put work priorities ahead of your relationship.
2. You’re too tired from work to spend time with your spouse or family.
3. Your spouse/family has become your career therapist.
4. You have nothing to talk to them about except work.
5. You realize that you are happier at work than you are at home, and feel more engaged with your work colleagues than with your spouse.

Brothers and sisters, these are just few reasons why RELATIONSHIPS ESPECIALLY AMONG FAMILY MEMBERS TURNED SOUR BECAUSE WE FAIL TO SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH THEM. Rihanna’s song actually reminds us that our loved ones ended up hurting if we give more time to our work.

This relational condition also reminds us of Saint Martha whose feast/memorial we celebrate today. She has the image of an active and work-oriented as well as task-oriented person. This is so because when she invited Jesus to her home she was caught up with all the serving (Luke 10 : 38-42).

She complained to Jesus about getting her sister Mary to help her with the work. But Jesus told her instead that she worry and fret about so many things and yet only one is important, and Mary had chosen the better part.

Unfortunately many of us tend to focus on Jesus’ apparent criticism that her sister Mary had chosen the better part (Luke 10: 38-42). However, Jesus does not downplay housework on this particular incident. Rather HE INVITES MARTHA TO KEEP HER FOCUS ON THE LIFE OF THE SPIRIT EVEN WHILE WORKING AND NOT TO LET ANXIETY DISTRACT HER. He does not prevent Martha listening to him from the kitchen – where she was preparing a meal for them all. After all the woman in the kitchen often knows exactly what is going on in the rest of her house.

In celebrating SAINT MARTHA’S FEAST, the gospel of John REMEMBERS HER DEEP, PERSONAL FAITH IN JESUS. It is SHE who BELIEVED IN “RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD” FOR THOSE WHO DIE IN FAITH.

John's Gospel shows us that Martha has great confidence in Jesus. At the death of her brother Lazarus she in fact greatly struggled with her faith. Yet in the midst of her grief she remained hopeful, as demonstrated in her words to Jesus, “I KNOW THAT, EVEN NOW, WHATEVER YOU ASK OF GOD, HE WILL GRANT YOU.”

Like Martha, when we find ourselves in grief and in hopelessness, we are reminded that Jesus reveals himself to us as the resurrection and the life. LIKE MARTHA WE SHOULD CALL ON THE LORD, THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD, the one who is coming into the world.

The feast of MARTHA, which celebrate today, teaches us that she IS A SAINT BECAUSE SHE PUTS HER TRUST IN JESUS. SHE HAS FAITH THAT IS SEEKING UNDERSTANDING.

May nagsabi ng ganito: “Simula ang trabaho, maliit ang sahod pero masaya ka naman. Eto naman yung ALAM MO ANG MGA KAKULANGAN NYA, PERO TINANGGAP MO PA DIN SYA. ALAM MONG DI NYA MAIBIBIGAY YUNG MGA KAILANGAN MO PERO DI MO PA RIN SYA IIWAN DAHIL NGA MASAYA KA.”

When we find ourselves overworked, when we see ourselves in doubt because we have lost a loved one, we could therefore say with Martha, “YES, LORD, … I BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE THE MESSIAH, THE SON OF GOD, WHO IS TO COME INTO THE WORLD.” (John 11:27)

 
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