(Mark.15: 43-47 & 16: 1-8)
Our Church, during the Paschal season, celebrates the blessed women, known as the Myrrh-bearers. These women followed Jesus on His travels, and stood by Him with faithfulness, courage and dedication. This they did to the very end. The Evangelist Luke tells us that some of them were healed by Jesus and saved from evil wise men and diseases, such as Mary Magdalene (see Luke 8:2). Other well known names of the Myrrh-bearers are: Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, Susanna (verse 3); Salome, the mother of the Apostles James and John; Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus; Mary, the mother of James (the wife of Kleopas) (see Matthew 28:1, Mark 16: 1, Luke 24:10, John 20:1). The Myrrh-bearers “provided for Jesus and His disciples from their substance” (Luke 8:3). Their work was silent. They are mainly known for their presence on Golgotha. There they were with the Holy Mother under the Cross while she feels the pain as if a sword pierced through her heart, as the righteous Simeon had said (see Luke 2:35). They wholeheartedly participated in the martyrdom of the Lord and their benefactor. They remained in Golgotha even to the burial of Jesus. After they had seen the Tomb of the Holy Body of Jesus, they made their plan. They would prepare the myrrh, and as soon as the Sabbath day was over, they would come to the Tomb and anoint with spices the Great One!
What characterizes these holy women, which we celebrate today, is their constant, unbroken love and devotion to Jesus. This enduring love arms them with admirable boldness. Think of what happened with the disciples. All of them, with the exception of John, abandoned their teacher out of fear and hid from being recognized by the Jews. Understanding these difficult and dangerous conditions, we can see how courageous the Myrrh-bearers were, to appear on Calvary at the crucifixion of Jesus!
Their courage is even more evident when, two days later, they started out in the morning, when it was still dark, to go with their perfumes to the Tomb of Jesus near Golgotha. What horror they witnessed there just two days ago! And what bravery they had to go to the Tomb and look at the Glorious Body to anoint it! On Friday, they saw that two men, Joseph and Nicodemus had shut the Tomb with a great stone after the burial of Jesus. On their way, they are concerned with this question: “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the Tomb for us?” (Mark 16:3). But they continued forward. Nothing would deter them from their purpose, their debt to Jesus. Not even the guard-soldiers, who they thought when they encountered them would send them away.
My dear brothers and sisters, the Myrrh-bearers are an excellent example that our Church is presenting to us today, along with the bold men Joseph and Nicodemus who buried the Holy Body of Christ. To imitate their sacred faces, in their deep and unwavering love and devotion to Christ, which armed them with the courage to express their gratitude and wholehearted worship of the Lord. We also can express our worship, our devotion and true love to Christ, without fear of anything. The Lord Himself will support us and strengthen us. Also, when our life is inspired by love for Christ, it comes and rewards us in ways that He knows; just like the Myrrh-bearing women who were first to see Him raised and to declare to the Apostles and to the world the universal event of the Resurrection!