I am not sure why Mary's name is placed first for today. Perhaps the order is alphabetical.
Mary, Martha and Lazarus were 2 sisters and their brother. These 3 were friends of Jesus, providing a welcome for him in their home at Bethany near Jerusalem. John 11: 5 tells us that
"Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."Much of Jesus' 3 years of ministry was itinerant. With his disciples he walked from place to place, not always knowing where he would sleep. The hospitality of those who would open their homes to him was vital. When the people doing that were true friends then such hospitality would feel very precious. After a hard day, what better than to relax in a welcoming home in the company of the most trusted and loved friends, like Mary, Martha and Lazarus?
During a visit to to the Holy Land a few years ago I noticed a plaque outside the church of St Lazarus in Bethany. It has this reflection.
“Today as in the past, the love of Jesus seeks a refuge, where he is lovingly expected and where He can rest. He finds our hearts are filled with distractions – people, work, our own interests – He longs for us to empty our hearts and lovingly receive Him.”
COLLECT FOR TODAY
God our Father,
whose Son enjoyed the love of his friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus,
in learning, argument and hospitality:
may we so rejoice in your love
that the world may come to know
the depths of your wisdom,
the wonder of your compassion,
your power to bring life out of death;
through the merits of Jesus Christ,
our friend and brother,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
You can find a fuller and excellent post by Jem Bloomfield on today's commemoration and the people involved at 'Love in a time of argument: Mary, Martha, Lazarus and Jesus'.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons, CC License