April 26, 2016

The Woman Who Anointed Christ's Feet With Myrrh

By Metropolitan Ignatios of Demetriados

Tonight we will experience a night fragrant with myrrh, the myrrh of tears of a repentant soul.

In the alabaster of myrrh of the sinful woman, is mixed today the tears of human repentance and the forgiveness of divine love.

On this Holy Tuesday night our Church presents us with a model of repentance in this sinful woman, who anointed the feet of the Lord with myrrh.

This woman who was insignificant, an outcast of society, to whom fingers pointed and was dismissed by decent people of the time, a woman without a face or a future, has been so greatly honored by our Church, that she is placed with the Holy Myrrhbearers of Christ, Joseph and Nikodemos. And this because she "loved much".

The Lord of love and mercy receives the myrrh and tears of the sinful woman, as well as every soul brought down by sin, because He is able to behold its depths. When we see people externally, we superficially judge them and often condemn them.

God knows the deepest thoughts of the heart, which is why His judgments are not like those of people, who sometimes moralistically and with hidden pharisaical jealousy disapprove of forgiveness and the restoration of sinners.

Christ sees things that others cannot see. Like a good collector of pearls, He retrieves through the bottom of the mud of sin, repentance, love, a good disposition, submerged in the muck of hidden good intentions, even if few tears are shed.

These are the pearls which to His divine eyes are without cost and are not valued, because they are priceless and invaluable.

He accepts them with love and grants to the repentant soul not only freedom from slavery to the passions, but even divine knowledge, as we see in the beautiful and most theological hymn of the day: "She was freed ... she knew the Master," which is to say she was freed of her sins and knew the truth about the person of the Lord.

My brethren, all these things apply to us. More or less, hidden or apparent, we often enter into the position and situation of the sinful woman, committing sins not only with our works, but also with our thoughts.

We all have need for repentance. Let us not become accustomed to being slaves to our sins. The harlot sought a Liberator and she found Him.

She did not waste time, but quickly made good on her repentance practically. Let us also seek Him, as quickly as possible.

The dedicating of this day to this blessed former harlot woman was done deliberately by the Holy Fathers.

Her figure is like a bright landmark which lies in the middle of our journey towards the Divine Passion, to indicate to us that our Savior Christ came to "seek and save the lost" (Lk. 18:10) and that He "gave His life as a ransom for many" (Mk. 10:45), and that He is the one who forgives sins and regenerates people in whatever situation they are found.

And He asks that we offer Him the "fountain of our tears", or if we don't have them, then at least the contrition of our hearts.

And He will forgive our "dark and moonless eros for sin" which is nested within us, and He will make us worthy to hear His desirable and blessed voice: "You are forgiven of your sins because you loved much."

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.