July 28, 2017

Saint Martha, Virgin, Patron of Servants

Saint Martha

Memorial - July 29th

Although we encounter Martha only briefly in the Gospels, it is very obvious from what the evangelist John says about her that she, along with her sister Mary and brother Lazarus, were important people in Jesus’ life: “Jesus,” he says, “loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus.”  Their home in Bethany, which was located just a few miles from Jerusalem, seems to be one place where their beloved friend could simply relax and enjoy the company of people who cared about him.

Martha is someone with whom it is easy to identify. In Luke’s Gospel, we see her hurrying about during one of Jesus’ visits, busy with all the work of hospitality.  We also see an understandable touch of annoyance when she complains that her sister has apparently left all the chores to her; the level of comfort she felt with Jesus is apparent when she appeals directly to Him to “get her sister moving”. The gentleness and affection with which He admonishes her is very evident as He tells her that “Mary has chosen the better portion and will not be deprived of it.”

Yet, it is Martha who makes a great statement of faith when Jesus arrives in Bethany after the death of her brother, Lazarus: “I have come to believe that you are the Messiah,” she says “the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”  (John 11: 27) Her body which lies at Tarascon is held in great veneration. The patron saint of housewives, and servants, St. Martha’s feast day is July 29th.

Almighty ever-living God, our Father 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 Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and with the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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