Martha, Mary, and Lazarus were numbered among Jesus’ closest friends. Martha and her family lived in Bethany, a small town outside Jerusalem, and Jesus and the Apostles often visited their home. One legend states that Lazarus was very wealthy and influential, and that he and his sisters provided considerable practical and financial support to the early Church, especially after Jesus’ return to Heaven. (Indeed, the legend states that the house in which the Last Supper was held actually belonged to Lazarus.)
Martha is well known because of Jesus’ gentle reprimand to her when she complained that her sister had left her to do the household tasks by herself: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her” (Lk 10:41-42).
In effect, Jesus was inviting her to discover what her sister had already learned: hearing the Word of God, and living it, is more important than any earthly consideration. Martha truly learned this lesson, for when her brother Lazarus died, in spite of her grief, she made a great profession of faith: “I have come to believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, the One Who is coming into the world” (Jn 11:27). Jesus then raised Lazarus to life, even as His own death was approaching. Because of her ministry to Christ (described in Luke 10:38-42), St. Martha is considered a patroness of homemakers and those actively engaged in the service of the needy.
Other Saints We Remember Today
Sts. Felix (365), Pope, Simplicitus, Faustinue, and Beatrice (304), Martyrs