Thursday, July 29, 2010

Saint of the Day - St. Martha

Our information about St. Martha comes primarily from the Gospels of St. Luke and St. John.

St. John first mentions Martha as the sister of St. Lazarus and St. Mary of Bethany (possibly St. Mary Magdalene). The evangelist writes that "Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus." At one time, Martha and Mary sent word to the Lord that their brother was ill. By the time Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarushad passed away and been buried for four days. Martha ran to meet the Lord and confronted Him with these words, "'Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died. [But] even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.' Jesus said to her, 'Your brother will rise.' Martha said to Him, 'I know he will rise, in the ressurection on the last day.' Jesus told her, 'I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?' She said to Him, 'Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.'"

Following this dialogue, Christ sent Martha to fetch her sister Mary, and the two sisters conducted the Lord to Lazarus' tomb where Christ raised him from the dead.

Both St. Luke and St. John record that, following this event, Jesus went to the home of the family, who gave a dinner in His honor. While Martha was serving the Lord, Mary sat at His feet listening to His words. Martha complained to the Lord, "'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.' The Lord said to her in reply, '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.'"

We know very little of Martha's life following the resurrection, only that she "may have been part of an early mission to France," and that she died of natural causes around 80 A.D. However, it is clear from the above passages that Martha was dearly loved by Our Lord and therefore worthy of veneration.

St. Martha is the patroness of: butlers; cooks; dieticians; domestic servants; homemakers; hotel-keepers; housemaids; housewives; innkeepers; laundry workers; maids; manservants; servants; servers; single laywomen; travellers; and Villajoyosa, Spain (because a flash flood saved the village from a Moorish invasion on St. Martha's feast day in 1538).

No comments: