Jesus probably traveled to Jerusalem three times each year, throughout His life. To get there, He would have taken the safest route, through the Jordan valley and up the eastern side of the Mount of Olives.
Bethany, a small village, two miles from Jerusalem, would have been His last stop. There, He would wait for the sunrise and the spectacular view of the Temple at dawn. It would seem that when He stopped at Bethany, He visited the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha to rest for the night.
As Jesus’ fame grew, Lazarus and his sisters would look forward to these arrivals. As we hear in the Gospel, Martha wanted to anticipate His every need. She seems to be overwrought and stuffy in this scene and most certainly does not appear to be saint-material.
However, of the three people in the family, she is the one who displays the greatest growth. When her brother Lazarus dies, Martha is the one who states, “I have come to believe…”
Because of this, Martha, the patron saint of servants and cooks, is the only one of the three who the Church honors with a universal feast day, celebrated on July 29th.