Friends of Jesus

Post Date: July 29, 2022
Author: Laura Stephens

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” John 11:3

Happy Feast Day of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus!

In February of 2021, the Congregation of the Divine Worship and the Sacraments decreed that July 29 would be known as the Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. The Congregation so beautifully stated in their decree the following:

“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. Martha generously offered him hospitality, Mary listened attentively to his words and Lazarus promptly emerged from the tomb at the command of the one who humiliated death.” (Decree)

Let us reflect on how these siblings and dear friends of Jesus reveal to us ways to become better friends of Jesus.

Martha showed her attentiveness to ministry in serving the Lord on His visit. In her serving heart, she wanted to give the best to Jesus and serve Him with perfect care and hospitality. Her service to Jesus is such an important gift but her anxiety and worry (dare I say possibly her perfectionism) led her away from her best loving service to Jesus. Martha forgot that service is meant to be focused on presence and not just being too busy checking things off the needed to do list.

How many times do we allow the good busyness of life to keep us anxious and not truly present to our families and friends? Let us remember that our ministry to others, especially our family and friends, is an action of prayerful love, and our work must remain balanced with being present to those we are serving.

Martha was also bold in her proclamation of faith upon Jesus arriving in town after the death of her dear brother, Lazarus. Martha ran to meet Jesus upon His arrival and showed her dependence upon Him. She boldly stated “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.” (John 11:21-22) She further witnessed to her firm and strong faith by proclaiming “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” (John 11:27)

Do we show our families, friends, and the world our bold faith? Do we make daily connections of our faith to the events of our lives? Be bold, filled with faith and allow the world to know Christ through our lives.

Mary is known for choose to “sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak” (Luke 10:39) when Jesus came to visit her home. Martha was so busy and wanted Mary to help but Jesus rebukes her saying “Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:42) Mary took her place with Jesus to hear Him and to be in His presence. She wanted to spend every moment just being with Him.

Do we make time daily to choose the better part – being with Our Lord and Creator? Do we dedicate time with our family and friends to witness to this important part of our priorities? We show our attentive presence to Jesus through our daily prayer, Scripture reading, frequent reception of Sacraments, and learning to spend quiet time with Him.

Lazarus is the beloved friend of Jesus who was raised from the dead after four days of being in the tomb. In His deep love, Jesus “wept” and became “perturbed.” (John 11:35, 38) In this emotional scene of Jesus with His friends, Jesus shows His raw humanness as well as His profound love for each one of us who are beloved by Him. Though not much is concretely known about Lazarus, we do know that He was loved by Jesus and given a second chance to live for God. Lazarus showed obedience to God and reminds us that our lives are meant to be lived as dear friends of Jesus.

What do others see in us when they look at our lives? Do they see how much Jesus loves us and how much we love Him? Do they see that our hearts are first and foremost focused on living for God? We must encourage our families and friends to live more for Jesus today and every day.

May these three siblings guide you to be more faithful friends of Jesus in all that we do, say, make time for, and show obedience towards.

Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, pray for us!

References:

Decree quote retrieved from https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2021/02/02/210202c.html

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