We’ve all been there. That hinge moment when everything you’ve ever hoped was true is put on the line for “the moment of truth.” Sitting for a really important midterm or final…the “big game”…a critical point in a relationship…a crisis in the family. All of these are situations where what we hold dear, what we treasure as vital is put to the test to see whether or not its worthy of the value we place on it. Those are scary moments, aren’t they? And yet, they are also defining moments. We nail the test, we make the shot, we find the relationship is just as strong as we had hoped it would be, we grow stronger in our families through the companionship in the crisis. These are the moments of truth. These are the moments that make life beautiful…because they demonstrate to us that when we are most vulnerable and have nothing to rely on but faith…well, somehow that’s enough.
This Sunday’s Gospel is the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. Jesus and Martha have a wonderfully simple, yet powerfully dramatic little verbal exchange: Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “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?” And there it is: the moment of truth. “Do you believe this?” This is Martha’s moment—the moment to either stake everything on Jesus or…not. This was no simple question, no casual inquiry. This was, for Martha, the moment wherein all that she hoped Jesus to be was put on the line and she had to either stake it in complete vulnerability or hedge her bets and rely on what she perceived to be true: death, finality, basic logic. “Do you believe this?” Pope Benedict tells us that in this question posed by Jesus to Martha, “for the Christian community, it is the moment to place with sincerity—together with Martha—all of our hopes in Jesus of Nazareth.” And Martha, in her most stunning Gospel moment replies, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.” O Martha of such deep hope in Christ, pray for us.