29 July, Thursday — Two Kinds of Life

Jul 29 – Memorial for St. Martha

Jesus liked to stay at the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, his friends at Bethany, when he was in Judaea. One of these visits has ever remained dear to Christian memory. On that occasion Martha, busily serving the Master, asked Him to persuade Mary to help her. Jesus explained to her that certain souls, called by God, should choose a better part still — the primary duty of listening to Him and contemplating Him.

After His Ascension, she was seized by the Jews, together with many other Christians. They were put on board a ship without sails or oars, and left helpless on the open sea. But God guided the ship, and they all arrived safely at Marseilles. Martha, after having won the love and admiration of the Marseilles people by the sanctity of her life and her wonderful charity, withdrew with several virtuous women to a spot remote from men, where she lived for a long time, greatly renowned for her piety and prudence.

http://www.catholicculture.org/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2006-07-29

Exo 40:16-21,34-38
Jn 11:19-27

“I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

Every time I hear or read the quote above, I am moved with hope and joy; these are such words of encouragement and strength. Almost as if I am a thirsty traveler coming upon an oasis, an offer of rest and to quench my thirst. There is just something so special about those words. Our dear Lord is the Resurrection and the Life.    

I am not going to get preachy about this, because I am sure that most, if not all of you, have heard the above quote and have some understanding of it. What I want to do is to share how this has changed me and helped me through life’s many ups and downs.

When Jesus says that He is the Resurrection and the Life, I feel like He is talking to me directly and making me a promise that He will not abandon me. He will make everything new, even if they died, He will give them new life.

Like so many other people in this world, I was (and still am to a certain extent) searching for the meaning of life. We are all convinced that there must be more to this life on earth. Sure, there are sayings like “you only live once” or “live and let live”. But at the heart of these sayings, there is a deep yearning to truly live, to understand or experience the true meaning of being alive. Like so many, I mistake the pursuit of pleasure, indulgence and possessions as means to achieving happiness. I tell myself that if I get a bigger house, a nicer car, acquire wealth, satisfy my ambition, gain respect, etc, then I will be happy — and that is what makes a great life. 

Life in the temporal lane. Just like the name suggests, the acquiring of temporal things satisfy the deep longings temporarily. The shiny bauble soon becomes lacklustre and we are in search of the next best thing. Having achieved some of the conditions above, but not all, I felt dissatisfied. I wanted more, I wanted what other people have. Instead of filling in the void, it left me more empty and more unhappy. That’s when Jesus stepped in. He claims unequivocally that He is the Resurrection and the Life. He can offer us what we search for so very desperately, but which always seems to slip through our fingers. The Life He offers us is not of temporal things, not of simple pleasures, but is of a deeper and everlasting nature, one that actually quenches our thirst, that finally satisfies.

No, the Life that He offers is not easy. But nothing that is truly worthy is easy. We will be tested and tried, stumble and fall, tempted to revert back to temporary satisfactions. However, once you have a taste or glimpse of the Life that He offers — the glorious, peaceful and fully satisfying Life — you will not want to go back to empty promises.

When I started to turn more towards our Lord, whatever within me that was slowly dying, was renewed.  Whatever was dead within, was made new. Have I finished my search? Do I have all the answers? No, far from it. In this faith journey, I am just starting out; at times, taking a wrong turn and having to double back, but at least now I have an aim. I know where I want to be and who I want to be with for eternity.

Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. That knowledge strengthens me, renews me and satisfies my hungry heart. He has provided the meaning that I seek so desperately.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)

Prayer: Dearest Lord, You are indeed the Resurrection and the Life. You make all things new. Even in our brokenness, You can heal and renew. We pray that You renew us and grant us the Life that You so want to share with us.    

Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we thank you for Your generosity and for giving us Your Holy Son, so that we can share the Life that He speaks of.

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