Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 84 – one of the loveliest.

My soul yearns and pines 
    for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
    cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
    and the swallow a nest
    in which she puts her young–
Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
    my king and my God!

Psalm 84: 3-6

The image of God’s dwelling places raises so many possibilities for prayer:

  • Mary, the dwelling of Jesus as he completed incarnation 
  • Eucharist, Christ’s continuing dwelling with us
  • Ourselves and all creatures as dwelling places of God’s spirit

Thinking of a dwelling place, many characteristics come to mind. Foremost for me is hospitality. We must be welcomed into a place in order to dwell there. We must be comfortable, cared about, and appreciated. We must feel at home.

We’ve all been in homes that make us feel this way, and hopefully our own home offers such hospitality to us and others. I think this morning of three old friends now at home with God. They were the sisters of a beloved pastor with whom I worked. We got to know them well at the time of his death and continued our friendship until they too died.

We often visited their old but perfectly appointed little home. And their hospitality took very evident forms: a prepared pitcher of Manhattans in the fridge, little snacks that we might have mentioned we liked, lively conversation, and the sharing of life-making stories – with a few secrets sprinkled in between.

I think that’s the same kind of hospitable home Mary, Martha, and Lazarus offered Jesus – a tasty meal, some good wine, and the sharing of life, laughter, and tears.


When we open our hearts to be dwelling places for God, we too can share the bread of life, the wine of experience, and the certainty of love with our infinitely hospitable Creator.

What immeasurable gifts! Having received them from God, may we offer them to others especially those who find them nowhere else.


Poetry: Dwelling Place – Henry Vaughan (1621-1695) who was a Welsh metaphysical poet, illustrator, translator, and physician

John 1:38-39 

What happy secret fountain, 
Fair shade or mountain, 
Whose undiscovered virgin glory 
Boasts it this day, though not in story, 
Was then thy dwelling? Did some cloud, 
Fixed to a tent, descend a shroud 
My distressed Lord? Or did a star, 
Beckoned by Thee, though high and far, 
In sparkling smiles haste gladly down 
To lodge light and increase her own? 
My dear, dear God! I do not know 
What lodged Thee then, nor where, nor how; 
But I am sure Thou dost now come 
Oft to a narrow, homely room, 
Where Thou too hast but the least part: 
My God, I mean my sinful heart.

Music: Dwelling Place – John Foley, SJ

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