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 fortified in his faith in Jesus and by building the Virtue of Piety so he can always rely upon and seek the intercession of the Saints.
Memorial of Sts. Martha, Mary and Lazarus – July 29 – Option 2 – Lk 10:38-4
After rebuking rigid interpretations of holiness and calling men to heroic virtue that seeks to generously serve those in need in the parable of The Good Samaritan, Jesus now confirms the call to sainthood includes women and reiterates the need to make the pursuit of God one’s absolute priority.
Entering the home of Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary, in Bethany, Jesus begins to teach. Martha, doing her best in her role as homemaker to prepare and serve food to Jesus, and likely many other guests, is overwhelmed by her work. Mary, enthralled by Jesus, sits at His feet, in adoration, learning. Martha, frustrated and failing, asks Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” This is insulting for several reasons: it is delivered with a scolding tone; it assumes Jesus is not aware; it assumes Jesus does not care; it seeks to manipulate the Lord into doing Martha’s bidding. Surprisingly patient despite Martha’s disrespectful question, Jesus gently rebukes Martha for being anxious and troubled and for missing the importance of making God her highest priority; He does not assert Martha’s work is unimportant, but that work must be subservient to faith. Rather than rebuke Mary, as Martha wished, Jesus upholds Mary’s beautiful choice to adore and learn from Him as the one thing she truly needs, a blessing that will not be denied her. Overturning Jewish customs that limited interactions between men and women, and only permitted men to be religious disciples, Jesus deliberately interacts with women and calls them to be His disciples.
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
Reflect upon how Jesus, the Son of Joseph, upholds the dignity of women: Son of Joseph, Jesus learned by Joseph’s dignified love for the Virgin Mary, how to uphold the dignity of women (CCC 2334); perfection of Meekness, rather than rebuke Martha for her disobedient and rude question, Jesus Gently Admonishes her (a Spiritual Work of Mercy); Divine Priest, Jesus directs Martha to the right practice of Religion (a part of Justice), using Mary’s adoration of Christ as an example.
Be fortified in faith by Jesus
Realize: Just as Jesus urged Martha to turn from being focused on worldly things and imitate the adoring faith of Mary, every Catholic man needs to grow in faith throughout his life, avoiding becoming waylaid by the world, 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 protected from being absorbed by the worries of the world, and I am preserved in faith by You and am well-prepared to meet 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.