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Sister of Mary and Lazarus of Bethany. Jesus and his companions visited their home and enjoyed their hospitality. The close friendship that developed was clearly indicated on the occasion of Jesus' raising Lazarus from the dead. The complete trust the sisters had in Jesus was shown when they both said, "If you had been here, my brother would not have died." Correspondingly, Jesus showed genuine sorrow and wept (John 11:1-44). On another occasion when Jesus visited them, Martha was preparing a meal and remonstrated with Jesus because Mary devoted her whole attention to him and failed to help her. Jesus gently rebuked her and praised Mary (Luke 10:38-42). Were these the same sisters? Martha's complaint does not seem characteristic of the Martha in the Lazarus incident, but there is no evidence to answer the question. (Etym. Aramaic marta', lady.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.