Friday, 29 July 2022 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha, St. Mary and St. Lazarus (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all presented with the words of wisdom from God on how each one of us can serve and follow Him better, through the inspirations of the saints, St. Martha, St. Mary and St. Lazarus. The three of them were siblings and according to the Scriptures, they were friends of the Lord Jesus. Lazarus was the one whom the Lord raised from the dead, and Mary and Martha were the ones to whom the Lord visited, as we heard from the Scripture passages today. Each one of them brought about inspiration for all of us Christians.

Lazarus, one of the siblings, according to the Scriptures, was very sick at one time and was on the verge of death in Judea, when the news of this came to the Lord and His disciples were in Galilee. Mary and Martha begged Him to come over and help their brother because they believed that the Lord could do something to help and heal their ailing brother. The Lord truly cared for them all, and nonetheless, He abided by His Father’s will, and waited a while as mentioned in the Gospel, until the appointed time, when He came to Judea after Lazarus had passed away from the sickness.

It was there that the Lord revealed His glory and power to all the assembled people, and opened their eyes to His truth, as He raised Lazarus from the dead after affirming both his sisters, Mary and Martha, that He is indeed the Lord and Master of life and death, and that He Himself is the Resurrection. Through Him, Lazarus gained a new lease of life, and God’s Name glorified through what the Lord Jesus had done that day. He showed His love for Lazarus, shown clearly when He even wept publicly for Lazarus, as he had to suffer and experience suffering and death first before God would be glorified through his resurrection.

That showed us just how close Lazarus, Mary and Martha were to the Lord, as very good and close friends, confidants and likely later on, important members of the Church. Meanwhile for Martha and Mary, we knew them more from another occasion in which the Lord visited both of them at their house, which prompted Martha to immediately be busy preparing all that was necessary to welcome the Lord, while Mary spent the time by the Lord’s side, listening to Him teaching and speaking to her. Through those actions, both of them actually showed their love for God in their own way.

Martha, while she was indeed distracted by her hectic and busy preparations to welcome the Lord, she was indeed doing so because she loved the Lord and wanted to care for Him in the way that she knew of doing. Mary on the other hand, also cared for the Lord in her own way, by listening to Him attentively and focusing on everything that He said. We can see from the examples set by the two sisters, as what each one of us as Christians should be doing in our lives in following and serving God. As Martha and Mary had done, we are all called to focus our attention to the Lord and devote ourselves to Him wholeheartedly.

Unfortunately, in our Church and world today, more often than not we encounter a lot of infidelity and lack of commitment to the Lord, because we are always distracted and busy with many other commitments and attachments in life. And unlike Martha, we are busy not because we are preparing to welcome the Lord into our midst. Instead we are busy pursuing our various worldly desires and ambitions, our many desires and concerns, our pursuit for power, fame, glory, wealth, influence among many other things. And we are also often too busy to listen to the Lord speaking to us and calling on us to communicate with Him.

That is why many of us kept on slipping down the path towards damnation and hell. Many people kept on failing to follow the Lord and to dedicate themselves as they should, because they were all too busy serving their own wants and desires, and in ignoring God’s calling and truth. The Lord has always patiently reached out to us in order to help us in our journey towards Him. However, it is up to us whether we are willing to listen to Him or not. If we continue on closing our hearts and minds against Him, then that is why the Lord’s words fell on deaf ears and we may end up getting further and further away from the path to salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, inspired by the good examples of the siblings, St. Martha, St. Mary and St. Lazarus, their love for God and faith in the Lord, in all that they had done in following and obeying God’s will, let us all also do the same in our own lives as well. All of us should do whatever we can to seek the Lord from now on, and do our best to live our lives worthily in all things, committing our time, effort and attention on the Lord. May the Lord continue to guide us in our journey and may He empower and strengthen each and every one of us to live as good and devout Christians, now and always, evermore. Amen.

Friday, 29 July 2022 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha, St. Mary and St. Lazarus (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 11 : 19-27

At that time, many Jews had come to Martha and Mary, after the death of their brother, to comfort them. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, while Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.” Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha replied, “I know that He will rise in the resurrection, at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha then answered, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He Who is coming into the world.”

Alternative reading

Luke 10 : 38-42

At that time, as Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He entered a village, and a woman called Martha welcomed Him to her house. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet to listen to His words. Martha, meanwhile, was busy with all the serving, and finally she said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to help me!”

But the Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Friday, 29 July 2022 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha, St. Mary and St. Lazarus (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

I will praise YHVH all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes its boast in YHVH; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

Oh, let us magnify YHVH; together, let us glorify His Name! I sought YHVH, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, YHVH hears and saves them from distress.

YHVH’s Angel encamps and patrols, to keep safe those who fear Him. Oh, see and taste the goodness of YHVH! Blessed is the one who finds shelter in Him!

Revere YHVH, all you, His saints, for those who fear Him do not live in want. The mighty may be hungry and in need; but those who seek YHVH lack nothing.

Friday, 29 July 2022 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha, St. Mary and St. Lazarus (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 4 : 7-16

My dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves, is born of God and knows God. Those who do not love have not known God, for God is love. How did the love of God appear among us? God sent His only Son into this world, that we might have life, through Him.

This is love : not that we loved God, but that, He first loved us and sent His Son, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if such has been the love of God, we, too, must love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love comes to its perfection in us.

How may we know that we live in God and He in us? Because God has given us His Spirit. We ourselves have seen, and declare, that the Father sent His Son to save the world. Those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in them, and they in God. We have known the love of God and have believed in it. God is love. The one who lives in love, lives in God, and God in him.