Saint Martha of Bethany
On July 29 (this Wednesday) we will commemorate Martha of Bethany, the sister of Mary and Lazarus. These three had a very special relationship with Jesus: the Lord loved to visit them and spend time with them at their home whenever He was passing through the area. Martha, Mary and Lazarus were Jesus’ good friends.
When we think about Martha, we often remember the story from Luke 10:38-42 and then compare her unfavorably to her sister Mary. While Mary was sitting with the Lord and listening attentively to Him, Martha busied herself with serving their guests. Martha, wanting her sister to pitch in, complains to the Lord. Jesus scolds her gently and tells her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
This passage, however, does not give us a complete picture of the woman Martha. Let’s balance our perspective out by recalling the beautiful scene recounted in John 11:19-27. Lazarus has died. Three days later, Jesus arrives in Bethany. While Mary stays at home, Martha runs to meet Jesus as he enters the town. Their tender interchange results in one of the most powerful expressions of faith in the Gospels, as Martha tells Our Lord: “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
So, we may not want to imitate Martha’s anxiety and worry, but as an example of loving hospitality and courageous faith, she stands tall among the ranks of the saints. She was what all of us should be – intimate friends with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
St. Martha of Bethany, friend of the Lord, pray for