Wednesday 3 February 2021

Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus

Painting: Master of Perea (fl. c. 1490-1510) Saint Lazarus With His Sisters Martha And Mary', 16th Century,  Location: Museo Lazaro Galdiano-Coleccion, Madrid, Spain.

On 26th January the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments  issued a decree signed by Pope Francis proclaiming 29th July as the feast of Ss Martha, Mary and Lazarus together. Previously this has just been the feast of St Martha. The full text of the decree can be read below.

They already share this feast day in the Benedictine calendar:

Heavenly Father, 
your son was received as an honored and welcome guest in the home of Bethany. 
Keep us close to the Master in our prayer and work that, blameless in his sight, 
he may welcome us into our eternal home, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.    
                                                                                                                    Benedictine Missal supplement.


The Lord’s raising of Lazarus from the dead is an anticipation of resurrection and a sign of eternal life for the rest of us who are baptized into the Mystical Body of Christ. Resurrection from the dead becomes, with this passage from the Gospels, a powerful “game-changer” in the life of every human being. The death and subsequent raising of Lazarus evokes in each of us the knowledge that we do not make ourselves, that God is the only Creator of who we are and what we are about. This gesture of the Lord’s invites each of us to a deeper faith in the Messiah.

So, why is honoring all three characters crucial in our Christian life? Each person: Mary, Martha and Lazarus are as one in the friendship with Jesus. If friendship, then fidelity, and perseverance, gratitude and hospitality.



Prot. N. 35/21

on the Celebration of Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus
in the General Roman Calendar

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.

The traditional uncertainty of the Latin Church about the identity of Mary - the Magdalene to whom Christ appeared after his resurrection, the sister of Martha, the sinner whose sins the Lord had forgiven - which resulted in the inclusion of Martha alone on 29 July in the Roman Calendar, has been resolved in recent studies and times, as attested by the current Roman Martyrology, which also commemorates Mary and Lazarus on that day. Moreover, in some particular calendars the three siblings are already celebrated together.

Therefore, the Supreme Pontiff Pope FRANCIS, considering the important evangelical witness they offered in welcoming the Lord Jesus into their home, in listening to him attentively, in believing that he is the resurrection and the life, and accepting the proposal of this Dicastery, has decreed that 29 July be designated in the General Roman Calendar as the Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus.

The Memorial must therefore appear under this title in all Calendars and Liturgical Books for the celebration of Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours; the variations and additions to be adopted in the liturgical texts, attached to the present decree, must be translated, approved and, after confirmation by this Dicastery, published by the Episcopal Conferences.

Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.

From the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 26 January 2021, Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops.

Robert Card. Sarah