Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, a family of models for faith
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of Ss. Martha, Mary, and Lazarus (July 29, 2021): EX 40:16-21,34-38; PS 84:3,4,5-6,8,11; JN 11:19-27
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Today, for the first time, we celebrate all three siblings who lived in the town of Bethany, not far from Jerusalem.
Today, for the first time, we celebrate all three siblings who lived in the town of Bethany, not far from Jerusalem. In their home, they offered Jesus their love and devotion during the years of His ministry. Previously, the day honored St. Martha alone. There had been confusion over the centuries about the identities of several women followers of Christ named Mary. This has now has been resolved, leading to this memorial venerating Martha’s whole family, including Mary and Lazarus. Scriptures are clear about our Lord’s love for these three and their reciprocating affection and fidelity. We do not know how they all came to know each other, but we hear of several visits to their home. The siblings express their faith in Christ through their generous hospitality, loving kindness, and committed readiness to hear and do what He asks. This last is particularly seen in the Gospel reading for today. The sisters had sent Jesus word that their brother was gravely ill. But He did not come to heal him as they had hoped and Lazarus died. Days afterwards, Christ finally arrives. “When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give you’” (John 11:20-22).
So now, in His own time and His own way, our Redeemer calls Lazarus back from death. Jesus who will soon face His own death and will triumphantly leave His own tomb, reveals His personal concern for those so dear to Him. Let us make a point of contemplating the mutual affection of Christ and this family of true friends and disciples. Let us serve Him like Martha, pay attention to Him like Mary, and willingly obey Him like Lazarus.
Suggested missionary action: We can pray to this family so dear to Christ, petitioning these siblings to help our own family welcome Jesus in our home and our hearts. We can also ask Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus to guide our us and our friends in loving and serving our Savior.