"I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Today is the memorial for St. Martha. Martha was the sister of Lazarus and Mary of Bethany. Today's Gospel is taken from the well known incident in which our Lord raised Lazarus from the dead. Mary is often thought of as the more loving, or worshipful of the sisters. Martha is known for being busy with work. But today we see Martha's faith.
When she heard that Jesus was coming she went out to meet Him (v. 20). While she lamented that if Jesus had come sooner He could have saved her brother, yet she adds, "even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you," (v. 22). She struggles to believe even in the midst of her deep grief. Our Lord's response to her is the verse above. He is not promising a resurrection, but rather asserting that He Himself is the resurrection. He is asking Martha if she truly believes He is the Messiah. Martha gives as good a profession of faith as Peter did in Matthew's Gospel: She said to him, "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world," (v. 27). We know the rest of the story. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. But what has transpired in this conversation? Jesus reveals Himself uniquely to Martha and she responds in faith.
It's important for us to grasp the meaning of this conversation. We often ask God to help us with the various issues we face in life. We are looking for answers. However, Jesus is telling us that He did not come to provide the answers, but that He Himself is the answer. His statement about being the resurrection and the life has specific meaning to our salvation. But for us that statement could just as easily look something like this: "I am your finances; I am your job, I am your health care; I am the solution to your marriage problems", etc. Instead of looking for solutions, the Lord wants us to look to Him. In that we will find all the answers we need.
When Jesus had finished this statement, then He asks Martha, "Do you believe this?" It's the same question He's asking us. He wants to know if we think He is all sufficient for every need. Because when we say, "yes", we are showing that we truly believe in Him. This was Martha's response. Is it ours?
If we continue to rely on Jesus and our various strategies, then we do not truly believe. We are, in effect, saying that our Lord is not sufficient. We are really trusting in our own strength and ingenuity. God does need any such props. If we will abandon it all and trust Him fully, then we will see the miracles of "resurrection" in our lives as well.
The question, again, remains: "Do you believe this?" May our Lord find us all answering with a hearty, "Yes, Lord, I believe."