St. Martha - Jul 29

St. Martha

Martha was born of noble and wealthy parents, but she is still more illustrious for the hospitality she gave to Christ our Lord. After His Ascension into heaven, she was seized by the Jews, together with her brother and sister, Marcella her handmaid, and Maximin, one of the seventy-two disciples of our Lord, who had baptized the whole family, and many other Christians. They were put on board a ship without sails or oars, and left helpless on the open sea, exposed to certain shipwreck. But God guided the ship, and they all arrived safely at Marseilles.
This miracle, together with their preaching, brought the people of Marseilles, of Aix, and of the neighborhood to believe in Christ. Lazarus was made Bishop of Marseilles and Maximin of Aix. Magdalen, who was accustomed to devote herself to prayer and to sit at our Lord's feet, in order to enjoy the better part which she had chosen, that is, contemplation of the joys of heaven, retired into a deserted cave on a very high mountain. There she lived for thirty years, separated from all human intercourse; and every day she was carried to heaven by the angels to hear their songs of praise.
But Martha, after having won the love and admiration of the people of Marseilles by the sanctity of her life and her wonderful charity, withdrew in the company of several virtuous women to a spot remote from men, where she lived for a long time, greatly renowned for her piety and prudence. She foretold her death long before it occurred; and at length, famous for miracles, she passed to our Lord on the fourth of the Kalends of August. Her body which lies at Tarascon is held in great veneration.
Excerpted from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.

Jesus liked to stay at the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, his friends at Bethany, when he was in Judea. One of these visits has ever remained dear to Christian memory. On that occasion Martha, busily serving the Master, asked Him to persuade Mary to help her. Without in any way reproaching Martha, Jesus explained to her that certain souls, called by God, should choose a better part still — the primary duty of listening to Him and contemplating Him. 
St. Martha, Monday, 29-07-19
1 John 4:7-16 / John 11:19-27 or Luke 10:38-42   

If cooks and chefs are ever in need of a patron saint, they need not look further. And not just cooks and chefs, but also homemakers and those in the hospitality industry. Because St. Martha would be the first and obvious saint for those in these professions. Indeed, her name means "The mistress" or "the lady", from the feminine of "master", and in many obvious ways, she lived up to her name.

In the gospel of Luke, she was caught up with all the serving and got distracted and complained. And Jesus gently chided her that she worries and frets about so many things but only one was needed. In the gospel of John, Martha was again seen to be complaining and even blaming Jesus for not coming earlier, otherwise her brother Lazarus would not have died. But it was she who made that profound faith statement: Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who has to come into this world. St. Martha was of great service to others, yet she was also a woman who put her faith into her service and her life.

So she is not just Martha but St. Martha. May we learn from her to serve with faith, so that in all people and in all things, it is Christ whom we are serving.
St Martha


Jeremiah is the first of the prophets to call God into account. Since he has given his life to God and his God-given mission, how come that he has to suffer so much to do God’s work? God’s answer is: Be converted. Trust in God even in your doubt and continue your mission. It is our lot and way to live with doubts and problems, and still to trust God. He is with us, even if we do not see it. That, precisely, is faith.
Martha. To serve without being asked, to be ready for others. To be given little publicity but to work backstage. Not to ask for honors and pass on the shoulder but to do one’s work quietly. This is how she followed the Lord. And her faith was deep and strong in Christ as the Son of God who could raise the dead back to life.

Opening Prayer
We honor today Saint Martha
as a woman of faith
and an unobtrusive servant of people
Give us her faith in Christ
as the Lord of life
and the first fruits of the resurrection.
Make us willing servants of one another
who attend to others in their need.
We ask your this through Christ our Lord.

A little beyond the end of today’s reading there is the shortest verse in the Bible. It is Jn 11:35, and it says simply, “Jesus wept.” It shows sensitivity in the people who first divided the Scriptures into chapters and verses. They could easily have put these words with the following verse; it would even have been logical: the following verse is, “So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’” When someone weeps you just have to give them time to weep. Weeping may be saying a lot, but it is not language, and it doesn’t require an answer or an explanation. There are two occasions in the gospel when Jesus told people not to weep (Lk 7:13; 8:52). On both occasions, there was an error of fact: the persons being mourned were not dead. But in today’s story there is no doubt about Lazarus being dead. So, Jesus wept; he did not take death lightly. He is sometimes made to seem a sort of magician who “leaped up on the third day.” If we make little of death, we make little of the resurrection.
Nor can we to make little of Martha. She is not playing second fiddle to Mary (especially not in this passage). With Peter’s, hers is the most explicit confession of Jesus as Messiah—which is the whole purpose for which the gospel was written (Jn 20:30,31). A scholar says that this points to the prominent women like Martha played in the early Church.


– For all Christians, that they may hold dear their faith and their life in Christ and keep living up to their convictions, we pray:
– For the leaders of nations, that as they work for prosperity and progress they may not lose sight of what is essential, that is: people, and the deepest human values, we pray:
– For our young people, that their parents and the Church may hand on to them their living faith and the spirit to serve God and people well, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
create between you and us
a holy communion of love.
Come among us in Jesus Christ
in this Eucharist and in daily life
and reign in us, take possession of us,
to rule and forgive, to sanctify and enlighten,
to lead us and to renew us by your grace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
God our Father,
in this Eucharistic celebration
you have again given us your own Son.
Let him nourish in us the growth of your kingdom.
May he open our eyes to the goodness
and yet the relative value of the things of this earth
and let him help us realize
that our human personality and existence
is nothing else than the concrete manner
in which you call us
and in which we respond to your call
to build up your kingdom.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

We know we are dear to God. May God and our faith and God’s kingdom be our joy and treasure. May God be our happiness and may he bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.