Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women

On the 3rd Sunday of Pascha, the Orthodox Church commemorates the Myrrh-bearing Women along with Ss Joseph of Arimathea & Nicodemus. Their commemoration keeps the "theme" of the Paschal season: sharing the good news of the Resurrection ("He has risen" Mark 16:6).
Icon of the Myrrh-bearing Women
Image Source

It's amazing to think of the situation these women found themselves during these chaotic days in Jerusalem. Their Master had been betrayed by his own people (the Jews) and sentenced to a painful and humiliating death to hang upon a Cross for all to witness by the authorities (Romans). These women attended to Jesus and his disciples throughout his Ministry, and yet while his closest friends, his disciples fled the scene (very understandably) after the capture of Jesus, they continued to follow and witnessing the torture he endured for their sake. Fulfilling their service to their Master, they came early in the morning to the tomb of their Lord to wash and anoint His body for burial as was their Jewish custom required. Much to their amazement, they arrived at the tomb and saw the large stone rolled back from the entrance. Being greeted by an angel, they heard the most glorious news that Jesus has risen from the dead and were commanded to go and tell His disciples that their risen Lord would meet with them all in Galilee.

Myrrh-Bearing Women
Icon of the Myrrh-bearing Women
Image Source 

From the Gospels and Church Tradition, we learn of eight women included among the group commemorated on this Sunday:

*Mary Magdalene
*Mary, the Theotokos (the Virgin Mary)
*Joanna (wife of Chusa, the household steward of King Herod Antipas, also according to Holy Tradition, she recovered the glorious head of John the Baptist after it has been disposed of by Herodias)
*Salome (mother of the Apostles James & John, sons of Zebedee, also daughter of Joseph the Betrothed)
*Mary the wife of Cleopas (or Alphaeus)
*Mary of Bethany (sister of Lazarus)
*Martha of Bethany (sister of Lazarus)
Icon of the Myrrh-bearing Women
Image Source

Their sadness has been turned into joy; the myrrh-bearing women ultimately become the "apostles to the Apostles," the first to share the good news of the Resurrection with His apostles. What a beautiful example to Christian women, and to all who are called to share to good news of our Lord's Resurrection in a "post-Paschal" world!

"Christ is risen" for the Myrrh-bearing Women told me so! Truly, He is risen!

- A Day in the Life of the Youth Director

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