1ST JOHN 4: 7 – 16
Beloved, let us love one another,
for love is of God;
and he who loves is born of God and knows God.
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
In this the love of God was made manifest among us:
that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might live through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also ought to love one another.
No man has ever seen God.
if we love one another, God abides in us,
and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us,
Because he has given us of his own Spirit.
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God,
God abides in him and he in God.
So we know and believe the love God has for us.
God is love, and he who abides in love
abides in God and God abides in him.
The Word of the Lord
Psalm 34: 2 – 11 (R.) 9a
R. Taste and see that the Lord is good.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
praise of him is always in my mouth.
In the LORD my soul shall make its boast;
the humble shall hear and be glad. R.
Glorify the LORD with me,
together let us praise his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
from all my terrors he set me free. R.
Look towards him and be radiant;
let your faces not be abashed.
This lowly one called; the LORD heard,
and rescued him from his distress. R.
The angel of the LORD is encamped around those who fear him, to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Blessed the man who seeks refuge in him. R.
Fear the LORD, you his holy ones,
They lack nothing, those who fear him.
The rich suffer want and go hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no blessing. R.
John 8: 12
I am the light of the world, says the Lord; he who follows me will have the light of life.
JOHN 11: 19 – 27
At that time: many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary sat in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.”
The Gospel of the Lord
: REFLECTION: Familial Friendship with Jesus
July 29, 2022
“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.” (Luke 10:41–42)
Today’s memorial was formerly a memorial only in honor of Saint Martha. However, on February 2, 2021, Pope Francis expanded this memorial to include Martha’s sister and brother, Mary and Lazarus. Thus, today we celebrate these three siblings together.
Martha, Mary and Lazarus were close friends of Jesus. They lived in Bethany, which was only a short distance from Jerusalem. Martha is remembered especially for the story in which she had been preparing a meal for Jesus, while her sister, Mary, sat at Jesus’ feet listening to Him, leaving all the work to Martha. Martha complained to Jesus, urging Him to “Tell her to help me.” Jesus’ gentle rebuke of her request is quoted above.
Mary is also known for the above story in which she sat at Jesus’ feet. This has traditionally been seen as a symbol of contemplative prayer. She is also presented in John’s Gospel as the one who poured an entire jar of expensive perfumed oil on Jesus’ feet and dried them with her hair just six days before Jesus’ death. Though medieval tradition has at times associated Mary of Bethany with Mary of Magdala and with the sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:36–50), most scholars agree today that these are three different Marys. In fact, one of the reasons Pope Francis added Mary of Bethany to this memorial today was so that she was honored with a liturgical memorial that did not confuse her with Mary of Magdala.
Lazarus is, of course, well known for the fact that Jesus brought him back to life after being dead and in the tomb for four days. Little else is mentioned about Lazarus in the Gospels except for the fact that the Pharisees wanted to arrest Lazarus at the time they were also seeking to arrest Jesus and that he was the sibling of Martha and Mary.
Why do we have this memorial honoring all three of these siblings together? When this memorial was established, the Congregation for Divine Worship said, “In the household of Bethany the Lord Jesus experienced the family spirit and friendship of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and for this reason the Gospel of John states that he loved them.” By honoring these siblings together, we are especially reminded of the importance of remaining close to family and inviting Jesus into our family. Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived together and shared a common life of love. They invited Jesus into their family life, and He accepted their offer. Jesus’ choice to befriend this family is an indication of His desire to unite each family and to befriend each member of every family so as to be the central source of their shared love and unity. Family love is central to our human lives. And though not every family enjoys unity and mutual love, we must never forget that God wants to enter every family just as He did with Martha, Mary and Lazarus.
Reflect, today, upon your own family. In which ways does Jesus desire to befriend you more? How does He desire to enter your family life and strengthen it with His love? And how does He want to use you to help? Even if your family struggles in various ways, know that God wants to love you and your family in the same way He did the family of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Though they were not perfect, He loved them nonetheless. And He desires to do the same to you and your family.
My loving Jesus, You chose to love the family of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. In doing so, You also reveal to us Your desire to love all families with a holy love. I invite You into my life and into my family, dear Lord. Please strengthen our bonds, bring unity and mutual respect. Please remove any past hurt and division and enable every family to share more fully in Your friendship and love. Jesus, I love You. Jesus, I trust in You.