Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus. They lived in the little town of Bethany near Jerusalem. They were dear friends of Jesus, and he often came to visit them. In fact, the Gospel tells us: "Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary and Lazarus." It was St. Martha who lovingly served the Lord when he visited them. One day, she was preparing a meal for Jesus and his disciples. She realized that the task would be easier if her sister would help. She watched Mary sitting quietly at Jesus' feet, listening to him. "Lord, tell my sister to help me," Martha suggested. Jesus was very pleased with Martha's loving service. However, he wanted her to know that listening to God's Word and praying is even more important. So he said gently, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious about many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part."
St. Martha's great faith in Jesus was seen when her brother Lazarus died. As soon as she heard that Jesus was coming to Bethany, Martha went to meet him. She trusted Jesus and felt the freedom to say: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Then Jesus told her that Lazarus would rise. He said, "He who believes in me, even if he die, shall live. Do you believe this?" And Martha answered, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who has come into the world." Jesus worked a great miracle and raised Lazarus from the dead!
Later, Jesus came again to have supper with Lazarus, Martha and Mary. St. Martha served them at table as always. This time, though, Martha had a much more loving attitude. She served with a joyful heart.
Today we might want to repeat Martha's profession of faith in Jesus: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." (Jn 11:32-33)