Today the church remembers Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany.Mary and Martha lived with their brother, Lazarus, at Bethany, a village not far from Jerusalem. They seem to have been very sensitive and compassionate women and gladly entertained Jesus and the disciples in their home. Mary, on one occasion, anointed Jesus" feet with expensive oil in an outpouring of emotion and love that drew criticism from some of the disciples. To them this act seemed sentimental and wasteful. On another occasion Mary was criticized by Martha for neglecting her household duties in order to “sit at the feet of Jesus.” On both of these occasions Jesus came to the defense of Mary. It was Martha who met Jesus when he came to her family on the death of Lazarus and who confidently testified that had he been there, Lazarus would not have died. It was to Martha that Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). Jesus had no more loyal and generous followers than Mary and Martha of Bethany. Their examples of devotion and fidelity have inspired Christians for generations. Almighty and everlasting God, who enkindled the flame of your love in the hearts of your servants Mary and Martha: Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love; that, as we rejoice in their triumph, we may profit by their examples; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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Generous God, whose Son Jesus Christ enjoyed the friendship and hospitality of Mary, Martha and Lazarus of Bethany: Open our hearts to love you, our ears to hear you, and our hands to welcome and serve you in others, through Jesus Christ our risen Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.