St. Martha of Bethany
Patron of Cooks and Housewives
July 29 is the feast of St. Martha. You will remember her as the sister of Mary and Lazarus. They were dear friends of Jesus for whom he expressed great affection, and often dropped in to visit in their Bethany home. In fact, the Gospel put it clearly: “Jesus loved Martha and her sister Mary and Lazarus” (John 11:5).
It was Martha who lovingly served the Lord when he visited. One day, when she was preparing a meal for Jesus and his disciples, she realized that the task would be easier if her sister would pitch in. She watched Mary sitting quietly at Jesus' feet, listening. She asked Jesus to persuade Mary to give her a hand. Although Jesus was appreciative of Martha's efforts, he wanted her to learn that listening to God's Word and praying was even more important. So he said gently, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious about many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part.”(Luke 10).
St. Martha's great faith in Jesus was demonstrated when her brother Lazarus died. As soon as she heard that Jesus was on his way to Bethany, Martha went to meet him. She knew Jesus well enough to say: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21). Then Jesus assured her that Lazarus would rise. “He who believes in me, even if he dies, shall live. Do you believe this?” And Martha responded, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” (John 11:25-26). (A sincere act of faith not knowing what was about to happen.) First, Jesus wept with Martha and Mary over their brother’s passing three days earlier. He then performed the awesome miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead!
Later, Jesus came again to dine with the family. Once more Martha cooked and served, but this time with a generous and joy-filled heart.
A Prayer to St. Martha
O blessed St. Martha, your faith led Jesus to proclaim, “I am the resurrection and the life”; and faith let you see beyond his humanity when you cried out, “Lord I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” With firm hope you said, “I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him,” and Jesus called your brother Lazarus back from the dead. With pure love for Jesus you welcomed him into your home.
Friend and servant of our Savior, I too am “troubled about many things”. (Here mention your intentions) Pray for me that I may grow in faith, hope and love, and that Jesus, who sat at your table, will hear me and grant me a place at the banquet of eternal life. Amen.