Thursday, 29 July 2021 : 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 we all celebrate the feast of the three siblings, St. Martha, St. Mary and St. Lazarus, who were featured prominently in the Gospels as friends of the Lord, as well as His close followers and disciples. They were mentioned in various parts of the Gospels, as St. Martha and St. Mary were depicted in the Gospel passage today as having welcomed the Lord to their place, and how both of them later on also had a moment with the Lord when their brother, St. Lazarus passed away from sickness before the Lord resurrected him from the dead.

St. Martha was the one who welcomed the Lord to her place and then made herself busy in preparing all the hospitality, the food and all for the special guest that came to her house, while St. Mary waited by the Lord’s side, listening to Him speaking and teaching her while St. Martha was very busy with her chores and works. When St. Martha saw that her sister was not helping her with her work, and complained to the Lord that St. Mary should be asked to help her in the kitchen with her preparations, the Lord kindly told St. Martha that her sister did the right thing, by choosing to stay by His side and listening to Him.

Both St. Martha and St. Mary loved the Lord and were faithful to Him in their own ways, and it does not mean that each one’s method is better than the other. Rather, the Lord wanted to remind us all through that occasion and example, that we must first and foremost focus our attention to the Lord, to His truth and His love, and then we have to do our labours and work of love for the Lord just as St. Martha had done. But we must be careful not to allow the works and labours to distract us and end up making us fall into the desire for satisfaction and inner pride.

Neither should we allow ourselves forget about the Lord just because we want to do things to glorify Him. This was done to much greater harm by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, as they were outwardly pious and faithful, and yet, they spent most of their time and actions, focusing on praising themselves and indulging in adulation and fame, enjoying their popularity and praises from others. It is because of this that they had forgotten what it is that they were charged with, as the guardians of the Law and the faith of the people. In the end, they became elitist and exclusionists, refusing to admit others to their elite faith and devotion to a fault.

St. Lazarus on the other side showed us all the virtue of having faith and staying true to the Lord, Who is the Master of all and the Lord of all, of the living and the dead. Through his resurrection from the dead, the Lord showed His might before all, and how beloved each and every one of us have been, all these while, that God would not let death to claim all of us and destroy us. From the beginning, we have been destined to destruction and suffering due to our sins, our disobedience against God, and yet, God rescued all of us, and restored us through His love.

He promised us all His salvation, which came true through Christ, His beloved Son, sent into this world to be with us and to dwell among us. He revealed His truth and love to us, and called us all to return to Him, to be reconciled and reunited with Him. He told St. Martha and St. Mary not to be worried and to have faith in Him, when St. Lazarus was sick and eventually died before He reached him. The Lord told the two sisters that He is indeed the Resurrection and the Life, the Master of all, in Whom all of us can trust, and hold firm in.

The wonderful faith and interactions between St. Lazarus and his sisters, St. Mary and St. Martha, as shown by the latter’s great sorrow at his passing and their unsurpassed joy at his resurrection are great model and inspiration for all of us in our own Christian communities, among all the faithful people of God. And their mutual love for the Lord, their dedication and commitment to His cause are also great inspiration for us to follow, as those who believe in the Lord and who should be inspired by their faith and commitment, their love for God above others.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all seek the Lord with a new heart and spirit, strengthened by this love we ought to have for Him, and let us persevere in each and every moments of our lives, that we may glorify Him by our actions and works, and in all things, we may always aspire to the faith showed by St. Martha, St. Mary and St. Lazarus, holy siblings dedicated to the Lord. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 29 July 2021 : 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.”

Thursday, 29 July 2021 : 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.

Thursday, 29 July 2021 : 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.

Monday, 29 July 2013 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (Scripture Reflection)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of St. Martha, the sister of Lazarus, whom Christ had risen from the dead. St. Martha and her sister Mary were faithful followers of Christ, who cared for Him as we have read in the Gospel today. Both of them faithfully took care of the Lord and listened to Him as He went on through His ministry.

Jesus too cared for them, and blessed them with His love. He loved them so much that when Lazarus died, He wept. He was touched by the sisters’ dedication and love for one another, and He Himself is a loving God. In His mercy and love, He had sent His Son Jesus, to be our Saviour, to bring us from the grip of death into a new life in Him, just as He had done with Lazarus, His beloved. Yes, so that we may live, brethren, a new life in God, and a final escape from death and hell that was our fate.

For our sins and faults, and the rebellion of our fathers against the will of God had angered God and made us unworthy of His Holy presence. We had been made dirty by sin and the evils of the world, corrupted by the trickery and temptations of Satan and his agents. For such evils against the holiness of God, there is only one fate for all of us, that is death and eternal punishment in hell, in the fires and darkness prepared for Satan and his angels for eternity, for their own rebellion against God.

But the Lord does not want to leave us to our fate, nor does he want to abandon us in darkness and corruption. He loves all of us, the most beloved and perfect of all His creations, so much that He gave the way to salvation, the escape path from that certain destruction which awaits all of us. He provided the straight way for all of us, the straight highway to salvation, towards reunion with Him in eternal bliss of heaven.

That was why He sent us Jesus, His own Son, the Word of God made flesh, that in His coming to this world, He made it possible for us to be reunited with God, for the Son of God had become one like us, albeit without sin. He had become one of us, of man, the Son of Man, born in the humble stable, but destined for eternal kingship. Yes, brethren, He is to be the King of Israel, the King of all creation, the King of the Universe. In Him all of God’s promises to mankind is fulfilled and perfectly completed. In Him lies all our hope and our future.

Christ is willing to help all of us, because of His love for us. A love so great that with that love He endured the cup of suffering He drank, to suffer on the way to Calvary, throughout His Passion, and to die on the cross in a slow, painful death, rejected by His own people and condemned by the priests and the people themselves, though He is without sin, and have been condemned for a false reason. He offers us this love, to all without exception, that everyone may be saved and have life.

He is our Lord and our Shepherd, our guide through life, that we, who have been lost, the lost sheep, may return towards Him, the Good Shepherd, who had given His all in order to find us and save us. He sought us the lost ones, in the darkest corners of the world, in places of sin, where we dwell. He knocks at the doors of our heart and seek to come in to us, that He may speak in the silence of our hearts.

Yet, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are often occupied with things of the world, with things that distract us from the Lord. We often enclosed ourselves in our space of comfort, that we turned a deaf ear to the urging and the knocking of the Lord on the doors of our hearts. These distractions also include our daily works and businesses, and also our daily concern for things such as food, money, and other things that distract us from the Lord.

That was what happened to St. Martha in what we read from the Gospel of Luke. She loved the Lord indeed and she tried her best to show her love to God by giving the best service available to the Lord in His visit to her house. But she became too preoccupied and engulfed by her works, that she had forgotten what is the most important thing that the Lord wants from her and from all of us, that is love and undivided attention, and total devotion to Him.

It is not wrong to do what St. Martha had done, and indeed she was also sincere in her love for God in doing what she thought was the way for her to serve the Lord. However, what is important is that we must not let our work and busy schedule to subvert our true intention, and especially if we begin to attack others who chose to serve the Lord in another way, as Mary, Martha’s sister had done. Brothers and sisters, do not let our pride to get in our way to the Lord. Pride is our downfall just as it had once brought Lucifer, the fallen angel, down from his glory.

Let us humbly seek the Lord and ask for His mercy, as we approach Him, the merciful and most loving God. Let us listen to Him with all our attention, the way that Mary had done, and give our best to serve the Lord as Martha had done. May the Lord guide us through this life, that we will always walk in His ways and follow Him to the end of that path, that is salvation, when we are once again reunited with the Lord our God who loves us.

St. Martha, pray for us sinners who are still in this world. With all the saints, the holy men and women of God, be with us and protect us, as we walk our path of life, that we will always remain focused on the Lord and do not become distracted by the world and the temptations that Satan and his forces have arrayed against us that we fall. May the Lord bless us all with faith, with hope, and with love, to remain His always, and be victorious in our struggles against the evil one. God bless us all. Amen.