I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.

Have you ever heard of the phrase “no holds barred”? Taken from the world of professional wrestling, it means that there are no kinds of holds or other techniques that are banned from a match. Of course, now we use it to refer to something free from any restrictions or social conventions that may hamper it.

We might call St. Martha, who is the patron saint of cooks and housekeepers, the patron saint of a no-holds-barred friendship with Christ as well.

Martha is best remembered for the way she complained to Jesus that her sister, Mary, wasn’t helping her with the housework (Luke 10:38-42). She was confident that their friendship was close enough for her to break social conventions and call out her sister right in front of her guests. And Jesus responded with an equal amount of friendship and openness.

Today’s Gospel (John 11:19-27) gives us another view of Martha’s “no-holds-barred” relationship with Jesus. Grieving the death of her brother, Lazarus, she runs to Jesus as a friend but also as a devout believer. In a moment of complete honesty, she gently upbraids him for not coming in time. But she also shares her unquestioning faith when she proclaims him as “the Christ, the Son of God” (John 11:27). This statement is one of the most complete professions of faith we have in the Bible. In both cases, Martha didn’t mince her words. She felt free to speak directly from her heart, giving voice both to her sadness and to her faith.

What better way to honor St. Martha than to emulate her open, honest friendship with Christ? And what better way to grow closer to the Lord than to be completely transparent with him about our trials and complaints as well as our faith? It’s not a sign of disrespect to tell him exactly what we’re thinking. On the contrary, we honor Jesus when we let him see what’s in our hearts. It’s our way of opening ourselves to him and inviting him to live in us as our Lord and Savior.

“Lord, help me to be bold and transparent in my love for you!”

Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38
Psalm 84:3-6, 8, 11
John 11:19-27


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