SUNDAY OF THE HOLY MYRRH-BEARING WOMEN
“Having bought a linen cloth, he (Joseph of Arimathea) took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid Him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses watched where He was laid. When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint Him. (Mark 15:46-47)
Due to the fast-approaching Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea boldly went to Pilate. He asked Pilate to release the body of Jesus for appropriate burial in accord with Jewish customs of that time. Joseph had bought a linen cloth, took down the body of Our Lord from the cross and wrapped Him in the linen cloth. In a tomb, hewn from rock, Jesus is placed. Then the Arimathean rolled a rock (stone) over the entrance to the tomb.
Since the ceremonial Jewish burial rites were not able to be completed due to the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses, pay careful attention where Jesus was laid. As soon as the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome went to buy spices so that they would complete the burial rites with its appropriate anointing.
They arrive at the tomb very early in the morning, with the rising of the sun. It was the first day of the week. As they approach the tomb, they wonder who is going to roll back the rock (stone) from the entrance. They notice that the very large stone (rock) is already rolled back. Upon entering the tomb, they are utterly amazed. A young man, clothed in a white robe, sits on the right. He knows that they are seeking Jesus of Nazareth, the One they crucified and tells the women: “He has been raised; He is not here.” (16:6)
These Holy Myrrh-bearing women are the first to receive the joyous news: Christ is Risen! Having received this joyous news of our Lord’s victory over sin, death and evil, they are called upon to share this message of salvation with others: “Go and tell His disciples and Peter that He (the Risen Lord) is going before you to Galilee.” (16:7) It is just as the Lord had told the disciples.
Christ’s Resurrection is a pledge, a promise, of our own resurrection. When we stand before the Lord on that awesome Day of Just Judgment, we pray to be deemed worthy of entry into the Heavenly kingdom. The Lord God Who knows and sees all will judge each according to his/her deeds while here on earth. There is nothing now hidden that will not be made known. Everything will be brought to light. Thus, there will be no deceiving the Lord, King of kings and Lord of lords. We await this day in hope of His mercy and blessed assurance of His promise.
We Christians are to preach this good news of salvation to others, not only in word but in action. We are called to have compassion for one another, to love one another as Christ the Lord first loved us. The authentic Christian life is one of Love and Truth. It is one loving dedication and service, the kind those Holy Myrrh-bearers had for the Lord. We as Church are called to continue the redemptive mission of Christ.
We are to call the sinner to conversion, to experience a metanoia – a change of heart. We all are to seek the ways of the Lord. We are to stay far away from sin, acts of sinful pride. May sinners repent of their sins and make reparation for them. May we be of one mind, one spirit, one heart. For together mankind can do great and amazing works. But fixated upon personal desires to possess and to control with no regard to the Holy Will of God that can only lead to tribulation and devastation.
But take heart for the Risen Lord has set us free from sin and all its consequences. May we ever seek to live in the spirit of Christ, which is one of Absolute Love and Truth.
Rev. D. George Worschak