MARTHA, MARY & LAZARUS: THE SACRED BOND OF FRIENDSHIP WITH JESUS
First Reading: Exodus 24:3-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 49(50):1-2,5-6,14-15
Gospel Reading: John 11:19-27
In the pages of the liturgical cycle, certain commemorations hold a deeper significance that transcends mere remembrance—they beckon us to delve into the depths of divine revelation and encounter the profound mysteries of faith. The Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, which we celebrate today, decreed by the Supreme Pontiff Pope Francis in 2021, stands as one such luminous occasion. Today’s celebration plunges us in awe of the profound bond they shared with the Lord Jesus—a relationship that transcended the boundaries of ordinary friendship, offering us a glimpse into the depths of divine love and the power of resurrection. These three siblings, living in the household of Bethany, became recipients of the family spirit that Jesus cherished, and their encounters with Him became moments of profound revelation, inspiring us to seek an intimate union with the Divine.
In the First Reading from Exodus (24:3-8), we witness a significant moment in the life of the Israelites—a solemn covenantal exchange between God and His chosen people. As they stood before Mount Sinai, Moses communicated God’s commandments and laws to the people, and in a profound act of commitment, the people proclaimed, “All that the Lord has said, we will do and obey.” This covenantal encounter foreshadows the intimate relationship between Martha, Mary, Lazarus, and Jesus, where the bonds of love and faithfulness were sealed not merely through words, but through hearts aflame with devotion and obedience.
The Responsorial Psalm (49/50:1-2,5-6,14-15) mirrors the essence of their heartfelt devotion, encapsulating the essence of authentic worship. The psalmist proclaims, “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving…Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (Psalm 49:14-15). In their actions, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving through their lives of faith and service. When faced with the day of trouble—the death of Lazarus—the sisters’ trust in the Lord’s providence remained unwavering, leading to the manifestation of Christ’s glory through the resurrection of their beloved brother.
The Gospel Reading from John (11:19-27) paints a vivid picture of hope and faith in the face of death. As Jesus stands before the tomb of Lazarus, He proclaims, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25). These words resonate deeply with the faith exhibited by Martha and Mary, who, despite the sorrow of their brother’s death, firmly believe in Christ’s life-giving power. In their encounter with the Lord, they profess their unyielding faith in the resurrection—a profound theological truth that foreshadows the ultimate victory over death through Christ’s sacrifice and triumph over the grave.
Dear friends in Christ, in the memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, we find a powerful witness to the transformative power of encountering Christ. Just as the Israelites responded with obedience to God’s Word on Mount Sinai, these three beloved siblings responded with profound faith and love to the Word made flesh who stood before them. Their lives serve as a testament to the truth that authentic worship entails more than outward rituals—it demands the offering of our hearts in humble service and selfless love. As we immerse ourselves in this commemoration, let us emulate the faith of Martha, the contemplative spirit of Mary, and the hope-filled trust of Lazarus. Like the Israelites, may we respond with obedience to God’s Word, pledging our fidelity to His commandments and living lives that glorify Him. Like the psalmist, let us offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving through lives of faith, love, and service, trusting in the Lord’s deliverance in times of trouble. And like Martha and Mary, may we profess our unwavering belief in Jesus as the resurrection and the life, finding hope and solace in the knowledge that death has been conquered and eternal life awaits those who believe in Him.
As we commemorate Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, we are invited to open our hearts to the transformative power of God’s love. Like them, may we build a home for Jesus in our hearts—a place where faith, hospitality, and attentive listening flourish. In this sacred abode, may we encounter the Resurrection and the Life, drawing ever closer to the heart of the Divine. Let us allow the bond of friendship with Jesus to be the foundation of our lives, inspiring us to live as witnesses of His love and agents of resurrection in a world yearning for hope and salvation. May our journey with these holy siblings (known as the patron saints of siblings) intercede for all siblings today, guiding them into a life of intimate and unquenchable communion with Jesus and peaceful coexistence, propelling them to embrace the fullness of life found in Christ—the Resurrection and the Life. May their intercession inspire us to lead lives of profound theological truth, basking in the light of Christ’s presence and bringing His transformative power to a world in need of His love and redemption.
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© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil
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