a priest's musings on the journey

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Feast of SS Martha and Mary

Today the East remembers the SS Martha and Mary, who according to Holy Tradition were among the myrrh-bearing women who went to prepare Jesus's body for burial on Sunday after his crucifixion.

Troparion of Ss Martha and Mary

You fervently believed in Christ and His marvellous acts,O Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus. You were adorned with radiant virtues and were found worthy to be numbered with the Saints; together with holy Lazarus pray to God for us.

Here is an exerpt from S Augustine. You may also read a sermon by Fr Thomas Keating on the active and contemplative lifestyles represented by Martha and Mary here.

Homily by St. Augustine, d. 371

The words of our Lord Jesus Christ which have just been read from the Gospel, give us to wit that there is one thing toward the which we are making our way, all the while that we are striving amid the divers cares of this world. Thitherward we make our way, whileas we are still strangers and pilgrims, unpossessed as yet of any abiding city, still on the journey, not yet come home, still hoping, not yet enjoying. Still thitherward let us make our way, not slothfully nor by fits and starts, but so that some day we may arrive thither. Martha and Mary were sisters, not in the flesh only, but also in godliness; together, they clave unto the Lord; together, with one heart they served the Lord present in the Flesh.

Martha received Him into her house. It was just as strangers are received, but it was the handmaiden receiving her Lord, the sick receiving her Saviour, the creature receiving her Creator. She received Him, to give bodily meat unto Him by Whom she herself was to be fed unto eternal life. It had been the Lord's will to take upon Him the form of a servant, to be fed by servants (still out of his good pleasure, not of necessity), and in that form of a servant which He had taken upon Him. This was His good pleasure, to offer Himself as a subject for hospitality. He had Flesh, wherein He was somewhiles an-hungered and athirst, but know ye not how that, when He was in the desert and was an-hungered, angels came and ministered unto Him. Himself it was therefore, that gave unto them of whom He was fain to be fed, the wherewithal. And what wonder is this, if we consider how that holy Elias, coming from being fed by the ministry of ravens, asked bread of the widow of Zarephath, and himself gave her the wherewithal to feed him? Had God failed to feed Elias when He sent him unto the widow? God forbid. He did so that He might bless that godly widow for a service rendered unto His servant.

Thus was that same Lord received as a guest, Who came unto His own, and His own received him not, but as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, adopting servants and making them children, redeeming prisoners and appointing them co-heirs. Perchance some of you will say: O how blessed were they who were worthy to receive Christ as a guest into their own home! but mourn not, neither murmur, for that thou hast been born in an age wherein thou canst no more see Christ in the flesh. He hath not put the honour of receiving Him beyond thy reach. Inasmuch, saith He, as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 11:56 PM


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