SAINTS MARTHA, MARY AND LAZARUS (Memorial) White
First Reading: Jer 26:1-9; Psalm: 69 R. v. 14c; Gospel: Jn 11:19-27
THE HOSPITABLE FAMILY
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
Customarily, on a day like this, the church celebrates the memorial of St Martha, the Lord’s disciple. However, on February 2, 2021, Pope Francis expanded this memorial to include Martha’s siblings, Mary and Lazarus. So today, we celebrate the memorial of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. This family was known for their hospitality towards Jesus which made Jesus a regular visitor to their home.
In Luke 10:38-42, Martha was a hostess to Jesus and displayed a dynamic personality by her hard work in preparing a meal for Jesus. Mary on the other hand sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to him. Although Jesus announced that Mary chose the better part, Martha’s role however cannot be overlooked. These two sisters revealed the two sides to life: to work and to pray. Martha was known for her active personality while Mary emanates a contemplative personality. Lazarus their brother was reported to have been raised from the dead by Jesus in John’s gospel chapter eleven. Jesus loved him so much that he wept at his tomb.
One virtue this family was known for was their hospitality. This made Jesus a constant visitor to Bethany. How hospitable are we as individuals and as a family? Are people attracted to us by our kindness and love or are our attitudes repelling to those around us. The kindness of the family of Martha, Mary and Lazarus could be what moved Jesus to show pity on them as he resuscitated their dead brother Lazarus who was already in the tomb four days before his arrival. Kindness begets kindness. The scripture warns: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Heb 13:2).
We are therefore challenged today by this family to re-evaluate our spirit of hospitality; because the love we show to people will return back to us a hundredfold. Work, pray, and be hospitable.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, we pray for the spirit of hospitality amidst the hatred in our world. Amen.