July 29. ST. MARTHA.
Short bio. Gospel, commentary, and prayer.
Our Lord Jesus Christ liked the home of Martha, her brother Lazarus, and her sister Mary. As our Lord’s friends in Bethany, they took loving care of Him. We should ask God to help us unite Martha’s intense work and Mary’s contemplation. Orthodox tradition relates that Martha fled Judea after the persecution following the martyrdom of St. Stephen, assisting his brother Lazarus in the proclaiming of the Gospel in various lands. Mary joined them later and the three of them came to Cyprus, where Lazarus became the first Bishop of Kittim (modern Larnaca). All three died in Cyprus.
GOSPEL OF THE DAY (Jn 11:19–27)
Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died]. 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.” 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 anyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”
GOSPEL COMMENTARY (FROM NAVARRE GOSPELS)
Here we have one of those concise definitions Christ gives of himself, and which St John faithfully passes on to us (cf. Jn 10:9, 14:6; 15:1): Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. He is the Resurrection because by his victory over death he is the cause of the resurrection of all men. The miracle he works in raising Lazarus is a sign of Christ’s power to give life to people. And so, by faith in Jesus Christ, who arose first from among the dead, the Christian is sure that he too will rise one day, like Christ (cf. 1 Cor 15:23; Col 1:18). Therefore, for the believer death is not the end; it is simply the step to eternal life, a change of dwelling-place, as one of the Roman Missal’s Prefaces of Christian Death puts it: “Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death, we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven”.
Almighty ever-living God, whose Son was pleased to be welcomed in Saint Martha’s house as a guest, grant, we pray, that, through her intercession, serving Christ faithfully in our brothers and sisters we may merit to be received by you in the halls of heaven. Through Our Lord…