I can’t imagine that Martha was anything but heart broken and angry with Jesus when he showed up four days late to save her brother, Lazarus. She and her sister, Mary had sent an urgent message for him to come, ”Lord, your dear friend is sick.”
The two sisters were particularly close to Jesus –
(remember the dinner? Martha fumed away in the kitchen, while Mary sat talking with Jesus.) They were them-selves . . . no pious holy card figures. “Why weren’t you here, Jesus?! Our brother would never have died!”
And what was the reason Jesus gave for his delay? “For your (the disciples) sake I am glad I was not with him so that you will believe,” (That Christ has power over sin and death). Jn, 11:15. What follows, of course, totally amazed everybody; Lazarus comes back to life.
So, what’s the point for you and me? Well, unless you are like Jesus and can raise dead people back to life, you’d better be there. What’s the line from the movie, Annie Hall? Eighty per-cent of life is just showing up. Not being there to win everyone’s attention, not to do anything special, JUST BE THERE.
We don’t believe that about ourselves, do we? That we make a difference. Many times we think, “who am I that people would want me to be there? What will I say? What should I do?” They won’t care if I’m not there.
But, it’s not that way for people who love you. Your presence is a comfort to them. I remember my father’s face buried amongst hundreds of people in the stands as we faced our archrivals in basketball. It was such a comfort to know he was there . . . as we lost the game.
You see, you don’t need to say anything. You don’t need to be witty or profound or anything. Just be you and show up. Love will do the rest.
Be there for:
• Dinner with the family
• Dance recitals/games/birthdays
• Bed time/prayer time for the children
• Parish picnics/movie nights
• A co-worker who’s having a hard time
• Mass (of course!)
• Someone sick/in prison
• Someone shut-in or alone
• A sad and mixed-up teenager
• A spouse who needs your attention
Why show up? Because we’re less when you aren’t there. And you don’t know how many people are missing you.
See you in church. I hope.
Blessings to you. Have you seen the robins?!
Fifth Week of Lent
There is so much to contemplate in this Sunday’s Gospel: Martha and Mary’s profound faith in Jesus and his promise of eternal life, his deep understanding of human pain and loss, his power over death made manifest to believers and doubters alike. From those who have seen or heard of Jesus’ miraculous deeds, there is dismay that he has not done something to save his friend. No one, (except perhaps Martha? “Even now, Lord…”) has an inkling of what will happen next.
Then, Jesus calls out and Lazarus comes forth, and many believe. All it takes is his word to give new life to one thought lost. He calls out to us as well, and his word is all it takes to give new life to our faith and commitment to him, if we only respond. If our Lent hasn’t quite gone the way we intended, we don’t need to spend any time be-moaning our failures: we just need to start anew. Jesus is calling!
From Pope Francis’ general audience June 9, 2013: “Let’s think about this, it’s beautiful: God’s mercy gives life to man, it raises him from the dead.” Join Mary Haas in the Gathering Space after the 9:00 am. Mass on Wednesday, April 9, for our second discussion on The Simple Wisdom of Pope Francis.”