Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Commemoration of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany

(From the Treasury of Daily Prayer)

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany were disciples with whom Jesus had a special bond of love and friendship.  John’s Gospel records that “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (John 11:5).  On one occasion, Martha welcomed Jesus into their home for a meal.  While Martha did all the work, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to His Word, and was commended by Jesus for choosing the “good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).  When their brother Lazarus died, Jesus spoke to Martha this beautiful Gospel promise: “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).  Ironically, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the Jews became more determined than ever to kill Jesus (John 11:39-54).  Six days before Jesus was crucified, Mary anointed His feet with a very expensive fragrant oil and wiped them with her hair, not knowing at the time that she was doing it in preparation for Jesus’ burial (John 12:1-8; Matthew 26:6-13).

A prayer in commemoration: Heavenly Father, Your beloved Son befriended frail humans like us to make us Your own.  Teach us to be like Jesus’ dear friends from Bethany, that we might serve Him faithfully like Martha, learn from Him earnestly like Mary, and ultimately be raised by Him like Lazarus.  Through their Lord and ours, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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