The Feast of Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus

On the feast-day of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, at the height of summer, a delegation from the Custody of the Holy Land makes a peregrination to the church which commemorates their presence in Bethany.

The Eucharistic Celebration started with the singing of the Morning Lauds. The small group of Friars Minor and pilgrims joined together to sing for the Feast-day in the house of Friendship. It was exactly on this bond of friendship between Jesus, Martha, Mary and Lazarus that the Superior of the hosting Convent of Bethany, Fr. Michael Sarquah, based his homily."Jesus had friends and the Gospel tells us that they were very fond of one another. It is precisely as a friend that, in the Gospel of the day, Jesus is reprimanded for not having saved Lazarus," said Fr. Michael. "But Jesus, the Lord of life, seems to want to tell us that there is a part of us that we leave dormant, in silence, probably what we like least. The Lord speaks to that part when he answers that reprimand and tells it to get up, to return to life, to embrace its wounds and leave the tomb to gain freedom."

After the Celebration, the group went to the Tomb of Lazarus for the visit and reading of the Gospel (John 11, 1-45). Immediately afterward, to complete the pilgrimage according to the traditional circuit, the faithful reached the place of the Ascension, once accessible on foot but at present blocked by the wall of separation. Reading the passage from the Gospel of the place ( Mark 16, 15-20) followed on the singing of the Te Deum of the entrance. To conclude, as for the pilgrimage of Lent, the small church of Pater Noster was reached where the Gospel of Matthew (6, 5-13) was read.


Giovanni Malaspina