My dear friends in our Lord: Christ is risen!
This second Sunday after Pascha, we celebrate the memory of the holy Myrrhbearers, the holy women who went unto the tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ, bearing the sweet spices that they might anoint His body.
As we hear in today’s Gospel, “Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of Joseph, beheld where He was laid. And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming, they might anoint Jesus.”
The presence of these blessed women was necessary to providence, that they might see and know where the Lord was laid, and that ultimately they might be the ones to tell the disciples, and bring them the joyous good news of the glorious Resurrection of the Lord.
Just was it was a woman who first heard falsehood in paradise through the death-dealing and deceitful words of the serpent, now it was a woman who first received the great truth of the defeat of death through the Resurrection of Christ.
These great women, corporately remembered today under the name of “Myrrh-bearers,” are those who steadfastly and courageously followed our Lord even to His tomb. These women showed their great dedication, their courage, their patience before the whole world. When all the disciples whom Christ had known and loved fled from Him, these women waited with forbearance and zeal to see, to experience everything that transpired.
And so, when the Sabbath was past, they prepared the sweet spices and went to the tomb to anoint the most pure Body of the Lord. Note that they did not seek human understanding of the situation. They did not seek to make a defense of what they were doing. They did not seek even to argue, to rationalise, to convince. On the contrary, they were being practical. They were practicing their own faithfulness, their own closeness to the Lord.
Thus it is, my friends, that we have a lesson right here: the greatest works of God are often made manifest to us not when we seek signs or wonders, but rather when we simply do our daily duty in charity, and we put our faith and our closeness to the Lord into practice.
Be steadfast in your daily prayer life. Be faithful to the psalter, to the daily psalms, to the hours. Be vigilant in cultivating prayer of the heart in this pilgrimage in the world. This, my friends, this is how we will see miracles. I assure you of that. If you today need a miracle, then be faithful to the life of prayer, which is nothing more or less than the practical life of the Christian.
As we hear, the women come unto the tomb, bringing ointment, thinking about who the could find who could roll away the stone for them. While they had such thoughts in their minds, they saw that an angel rolled away the stone.
And as we hear, the Angel said unto them: Be not affrighted; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified: He is risen, He is not here, behold the place where they laid Him.
Are you in need of a miracle today? The angel gives good advice: Be not afraid. Have no fear. And then next he proclaims the good tidings of the Resurrection. He refers to our Lord as He Who was crucified; he is not ashamed of the Cross, since the Cross is life-giving, it is the salvation of mankind it is the tree of life, it is the basis for all blessings. Likewise too, as we put our faith into practice, and we daily pick up our cross and follow Him, therein do we find blessings.
He is risen, said the angel; the Lord is not here. The empty tomb stands before all history testifying to the triumph over death, and to the reality of Resurrection.
“But go,” said the Angel, “tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee; there you shall see Him, as He told you.” But they going out, fled from the sepulchre. For a trembling and fear had seized them: and they said nothing to any man; for they were afraid.
“Tell His disciples and Peter.” Peter, who, you must remember, had last seen the Lord just as he, that is Peter, was denying Him. And here Peter is not numbered among the disciples of the Lord. But the angel added, “and Peter,” mentioning him by name, so that Peter would not be grieved or led into temptation, thinking that he had himself been rejected by the Lord, for such was not the case.
And the Lord directed the disciples to Galilee, to deliver them from their turmoil, to free them from all fear. But we see that the myrrh-bearing women were seized by fear, they were struck with amazement by the angel of the Resurrection. They were beside themselves with fear because of what they had seen and heard; and therefore, they did not say anything to anyone.
But, as we know, this fear was overcome. Fear was overcome, and the good news of the Resurrection was, indeed, brought to the disciples and Peter, and to us, as well.
Today, let us also overcome our fear as we hear these things. Let us be eager to preach the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ by word and by deed. Let us be eager to worship and to glorify the Risen Christ, our Lord and our God. Let us be eager to give thanks to Him Who suffered and Who was buried for our sakes and Who became the Mediator of our resurrection. Let us give thanks to Him! Let us magnify Him Who bore our infirmities and Who has rescued us from the snares and the malice of the devil!
Just like the holy Myrrh-bearers, let us be brave and let us seek the Body of Christ. Let us hear the words of the Angel and fear not! Let us today choose resurrection, for death has been defeated.