Ps 99:5, 6, 7, 9
Holy is the Lord our God.
17TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 1 / (White)
1st Reading: Ex 34:29-35
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the Testament in his hands, he was not aware that the skin of his face was radiant after speaking with Yahweh.
Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw that Moses’ face was radiant and they were afraid to go near him. But Moses called them, and Aaron with all the leaders of the community drew near, and Moses spoke to them. Afterwards all the Israelites came near and he told them all that Yahweh had commanded him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.
Whenever Moses went before Yahweh to speak with him, he took off the veil until he came out again. And when he came out and told them what he had been commanded, the Israelites saw that his face was radiant. Moses would then replace the veil over his face until he went again to speak with Yahweh.
Gospel: Jn 11:19-27 (or Lk 10:38-42)
Many Jews had come to Martha and Mary after the death of their brother, to comfort them.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him while Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection, at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection; whoever believes in me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Martha then answered, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.”
In today’s gospel reading notice Martha’s answer to the question of Jesus. Jesus asks her, “Do you believe this?” That is: do you accept as true that whoever believes in me will have life and will not even die? Jesus questions Martha about something, about her certainty of a continued life. Martha gives an answer which bears on the person of Jesus. She does not answer, “Yes, I believe that I shall not die,” but rather “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.” This shows that the Christian faith is not a faith in things, be it a world restored to its primal innocence, but a faith in the person of Jesus Christ, Son of God. Faith in Jesus himself is absolutely first; all the rest comes after.
Notice, too, that Martha’s profession of faith is almost identical to that of Peter at Caesarea Philippi (Mt 16:16), whose profession of faith has been endlessly celebrated across the centuries as an extraordinary spiritual breakthrough. But no one mentions that our simple Martha uttered the same profession of faith in practically the same words. How can we explain this onesidedness? Is it because Martha is a “mere” woman and not an apostle?
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