July 29th marks the Feast Day of Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus. These three are the patron saints of siblings. These siblings teach us an incredibly powerful reminder of faith in times of hardship. Their moving story is all about trusting God even when things seem impossible - They demonstrate the power and strength that comes from believing in something bigger than ourselves. To honor their feast day, we're sharing their story and four simple ways to celebrate!
The Story of Saints Martha, Mary & Lazarus
Martha, Mary and Lazarus are three siblings who were close friends to Jesus. During Lazarus' death, we learn just how faithful Martha and Mary were to Jesus and how meaningful their friendship was. Saint Martha is most well-known for her strong faith in Jesus after her brother's death. Jesus told her "‘I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘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 11:25-27).
Saint Martha loved to host Jesus and prepare meals for him, whereas Saint Mary loved to listen to his words. In addition, in John 12:1-8, it describes Mary's anointing of Jesus' feet at Bethany, one act that he praised highly.
Saint Lazarus was killed by the chief priests because of his strong belief in Jesus. Lazarus was the one of whom the Jews said, “See how much he loved him.” Upon his death, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
Their faithfulness is truly inspiring!
The Significance Of This Feast Day
In February 2021, Pope Francis declared a combined Feast Day of Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus to be celebrated each year on July 29th. It is stated in Pope Francis' decree that, “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.”
To read more about the significance of this feast day, click here!
4 Simple Ways To Celebrate
Image courtesy of: Chayene Rafaela on Unsplash
Celebrate your siblings
There's no better way to celebrate this feast day than honoring your own siblings! If you don't have siblings, celebrate close friends or family that are like siblings to you. A few ways to honor your siblings include: Spend time together without distractions; Be fully present and enjoy your time together. Call or send your siblings a simple message expressing your gratitude for them or express how much they mean to you. Thank your siblings for the joy they bring into your life or how they have influenced you to be a better sibling/person. Plan a sibling-only trip to one of your favorite places. Most importantly, say a prayer for your siblings.
Image courtesy of: Valiant Made on Unsplash
According to the decree by Saint Francis, “Martha generously offered him hospitality..." In honor of Martha's spirit, open your heart up to strangers and offer them friendship and hospitality. You can do this by cooking a meal for someone you think could really use it (a friend that is struggling, a sick family member, etc.), or someone you'd love to bless. Plan a dinner party at your house and cook a delicious meal, while offering a safe space for friendship, connection and community. If you aren't able to host in-person, set up a Zoom or FaceTime call and host a virtual dinner event!
Image courtesy of: Patrick Fore on Unsplash
Sit with Jesus like Mary of Bethany
Saint Francis' decree also stated that, "Mary listened attentively to his words..." One way to sit with Jesus is by spending time reading scripture. Read and digest his words, meditate on his messages and reflect on how you can incorporate his teaching into your daily life. Set a time for 15 minutes to read the scriptures. Turn off all distractions so you can be fully present with Jesus. End your quiet time with a prayer of thanks.
Image courtesy of: Holly Mandarich on Unsplash
Rise Up Like Lazarus
Lastly, Saint Francis' decree acknowledged that, "Lazarus promptly emerged from the tomb at the command of the One who humiliated death..."
Ask yourself this question: Jesus commanded Lazarus to rise up from his grave. This is a command for you - What are the dead parts inside of you that need to rise up like Lazarus? What do you need to let go of to make room for more love?
To learn more about Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus, click here!
Looking for more inspiration on how to celebrate the Liturgical seasons?
Living The Seasons: Simple Ways To Celebrate The Beauty Of Your Faith Throughout The Year is a full-color guide to creatively celebrate our faith. Each page is filled with beautiful inspiration with effortless directions to celebrate feast days, holy days and seasons within the Church. This will be your resource for living liturgically! Now available for pre-order on our website.