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Martha

From Academic Kids

Martha (Judćo-Aramaic מַרְתָּא Martâ "The lady", French Sainte Marthe) is a biblical figure of whom no historical facts outside of it are known. According to the gospel of John, she was the sister of Lazarus and Mary, and she witnessed her brother's resurrection.

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Mentions

Martha is mentioned only in Luke 10:38-42; and John 11, 12, sqq. The Aramaic form occurs in a Nabatfan inscription found at Puteoli, and now in the Naples Museum; it is dated AD. 5 (Corpus Inscr. Semit., 158); also in a Palmyrene inscription, where the Greek translation has the form Marthein, AD 179.

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Jesus_Bethany.jpg
Mary anoints Jesus in Bethany in this icon. Martha serves the meal in the background.

Biblical Martha

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus are represented by John as living at Bethany, but Luke would seem to imply that they were, at least at one time, living in Galilee; he does not mention the name of the town, but it may have been Magdala, and we should thus, supposing Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene to be the same person, understand the appellative "Magdalene". The words of John (11:1) seem to imply a change of residence for the family. It is possible, too, that Luke has displaced the incident referred to in Chapter 10. The likeness between the pictures of Martha presented by Luke and John is very remarkable. The familiar intercourse between the Saviour of the world and the humble family which Luke depicts is dwelt on by John when he tells us that "Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus" (11:5). Again the picture of Martha's anxiety (John 11:20-21, 39) accords with the picture of her who was "busy about much serving" (Luke 10:40); so also in John 12:2: "They made him a supper there: and Martha served." But St. John has given us a glimpse of the other and deeper side of her character when he depicts her growing faith in Christ's Divinity (11:20-27), a faith which was the occasion of the words: "I am the resurrection and the life." The Evangelist has beautifully indicated the change that came over Martha after that interview: "When she had said these things, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying: The Master is come, and calleth for thee."

Difficulties have been raised about the last supper at Bethania. John seems to put it six days before the Pasch, and, so some conclude, in the house of Martha; while the Synoptic account puts it two days before the Pasch, and in the house of Simon the Leper. We need not try to avoid this difficulty by asserting that there were two suppers; for John does not say that the supper took place six days before, but only that Christ arrived in Bethania six days before the Pasch; nor does he say that it was in the house of Martha. We are surely justified in arguing that, since Matthew and Mark place the scene in the house of Simon, St. John must be understood to say the same; it remains to be proved that Martha could not "serve" in Simon's house.

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Église_Collégiale_Sainte_Marthe_(Tarascon).jpg
St Martha's Collegiate Church in Tarascon

Expansion of the Martha tradition

According to one legend, Martha left Palestine after Jesus's death, around 48, and went to Provence with her sister Mary (potentially Mary Magdalene) and her brother Lazarus. Martha first settled in Avignon (now in France), then went to Tarascon, where a monster, the Tarasque, was a constant threat to the population. Martha managed to tame the monster and eventually died in Tarascon, where she was buried. Her tomb is located in the crypt of the local Collegiate Church.

Memory

Martha is a Christian saint. Her feast day is July 29.

See also

Template:Catholic Encyclopedia


Martha was also the name given to the last passenger pigeonde:Martha sv:Marta (helgon)

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