Friday, July 29, 2016

For All the Saints: Mary, Martha, and Lazarus

On Catholic and Protestant calendars, the New Testament siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus are honored today. A few years ago I wrote about the sisters, here., and my friend Suzanne is blogging about the sisters this week, here. The Catholic site that I use to learn about these various saints has this about Martha (probably the one with whom we identify):

"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha"
by Diego Velazquez, 1618
"No doubt Martha was an active sort of person. On one occasion (see Luke 10:38-42) she prepares the meal for Jesus and possibly his fellow guests and forthrightly states the obvious: All hands should pitch in to help with the dinner.

"Yet, as biblical scholar Father John McKenzie points out, she need not be rated as an 'unrecollected activist.' The evangelist is emphasizing what our Lord said on several occasions about the primacy of the spiritual: '...[D]o not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear…. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness' (Matthew 6:25b, 33a); 'One does not live by bread alone' (Luke 4:4b); 'Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness…' (Matthew 5:6a).

"Martha’s great glory is her simple and strong statement of faith in Jesus after her brother’s death... Scripture commentators point out that in writing his account of the raising of Lazarus, St. John intends that we should see Martha’s words to Mary before Lazarus was raised as a summons that every Christian must obey. In her saying 'The teacher is here and is asking for you,' Jesus is calling every one of us to resurrection—now in baptismal faith, forever in sharing his victory over death. And all of us, as well as these three friends, are in our own unique way called to special friendship with him."

(I know I've neglected Lazarus in this post, but I wrote more about him here.)

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