The Holy Catholic Church celebrates the Memorial of Sts. Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Virtue of Faith so he can always be strengthened in his life by Jesus and by building the Virtue of Piety so he can frequently seek the powerful intercession of the Saints to help in the struggles of his life.
Memorial of Sts. Martha, Mary and Lazarus – July 29 – Option 1 – Jn 11:19-27
Following the attempts to stone Jesus at the mid-winter Feast of the Dedication, Jesus safely withdrew from Jerusalem and received word from Mary and Martha of Bethany that their brother Lazarus was ill. Knowing Lazarus’ illness is fatal, Jesus chooses to wait two days for Lazarus to die, and be buried before traveling to Bethany; Jesus deliberately does not intervene in Lazarus’ death to do the Father’s will, and Jesus will raise Lazarus from the dead so the “Son of God may be glorified”, and so the Apostles “may believe.” The Apostles are acutely aware that drawing near to Jerusalem will be dangerous, saying amongst themselves, “let us go, that we may die with Him.”
When Jesus arrives, Lazarus’ body had been in the tomb for 4 days, confirming he is really dead and beginning to decay, and that his soul has departed; the delay also results in a large number of Jews from Jerusalem to gather to mourn and who will witness and spread the word of Jesus’ miracle. Martha expresses an imperfect faith, failing to understand that Jesus is God. Jesus corrects her, and Martha faithfully confirms her new understanding, calling Jesus, the “Son of God”, but she does not fully understand for she will soon worry about the smell of death from the tomb. Coming to the tomb, Jesus orders the stone rolled away, thunders, “Lazarus, come out!”, and Lazarus returns to life; Jesus tells the people to unbind him. The miracle causes many Jews to believe; some go the Pharisees in Jerusalem and report the incident. Ironically, by raising Lazarus to life, Jesus sets in motion His own death on the Cross.
Following the Ascension of Jesus, tradition holds that Martha, Mary and Lazarus were set adrift on the Mediterranean without sail or oars and eventually landed in France where they evangelized many. St. Martha’s relics continue to be venerated in St Martha’s Collegiate Church in Tarascan, France.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be joyous at how Jesus comforts Martha: in His Human Nature, Jesus experiences deep Sorrow when others die (St. Joseph, Lazarus) and has deep Compassion for those who suffer loss; the perfection of Charity, Jesus Admonish and Instructs (Spiritual Works of Mercy) Martha, revealing to her that He has Divine Power over life and death, so that she might come to faith and that her suffering might be lessened.
Be fortified in faith by Jesus
Realize: Just as Martha grew in her faith and was helped by Jesus to believe He is the Son of God, every Catholic man grows in faith throughout his life, weathering confusion or doubts, seeking the protection of Jesus to maintain a saving faith.
Believe: Reflect upon the Virtue of Faith (CCC 153-165, 2087-2089).
Pray: Jesus, Resurrection of Life, help me build the Virtue of Faith so I am always preserved from doubt, incredulity and heresy, and I am preserved in faith by You in preparation for my own resurrection by You after my death.
Seek the intercession of the Saints
Realize: In the Communion of Saints, every Catholic man is blessed to be able to strive to imitate and seek the intercession of the Saints, the greatest human beings who have ever lived.
Believe: Reflect upon the Communion of the Saints (CCC 946-962, 2683) and Patron Saints (CCC 2156, 2165).
Pray: Sts. Martha, Mary and Lazarus, pray that I grow in the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so I honor the Saints and I develop a veneration for those Saints who can help in my own particular struggles in the Spiritual Combat.