Today’s memorial was formerly a memorial only in honour of Saint Martha. However, on 2 February 2021, Pope Francis expanded this memorial to include Martha’s sister and brother, Mary and Lazarus. Thus, today we celebrate these three siblings together.
Why do we have this memorial honoring all three of these siblings together? When this memorial was established, the Congregation for Divine Worship said, “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.”
By honouring these siblings together, we are especially reminded of the importance of remaining close to family and inviting Jesus into our family. Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived together and shared a common life of love. They invited Jesus into their family life, and He accepted their offer. Jesus’ choice to befriend this family is an indication of His desire to unite each family and to befriend each member of every family so as to be the central source of their shared love and unity. Family love is central to our human lives. And though not every family enjoys unity and mutual love, we must never forget that God wants to enter every family just as He did with Martha, Mary and Lazarus.