May 16, 2021

Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women - A Woman of Love and Service Is Never Bored or Empty

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin (1807-1869)

The third week after Holy Pascha is called the Week of the Holy Myrrhbearing Women. How did the Myrrhbearing women deserve such honor and memory that the Holy Church appointed a special week for their remembrance and glorification? Could it be that on the day of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, very early in the morning, they carried fragrant ointment to His tomb in order to anoint His body with it, for which they were called "myrrhbearers"? No. Of course, by this they proved that they loved Jesus Christ, but this was only their last deed, which they did for Him, out of love for Him who had died. No, even before, much earlier and much more they showed their love for Jesus Christ. They were at His burial, they were at His crucifixion, when He was led to Golgotha they followed Him and wept. But most importantly, during all the time Jesus Christ walked through the cities and villages and taught the people, these women were among the first to follow Him and served Him with their own means.

But what attracted them to Jesus Christ? They did not yet know that He was the Son of God, the Savior of the human race, the Creator, the Almighty God. What was it that made them love Him so? The doctrine that He preached. No one has yet taught what Jesus Christ taught, and no one has spoken as He spoke. From His mouth poured a good word, like fragrant ointment, and they could not turn away from Him, everyone wanted to hear something from Him. Yes, that is why they called Him more and more only Teacher, and they had no other name for Him other than Teacher.

So, this is how the Myrrhbearers earned honor and memory in the Holy Church: by their love for Jesus Christ, especially by the fact that they loved to listen to His teachings and following Him everywhere, serving Him with their own means. And therefore, not only did they themselves learn from Him, but in some way helped Him teach others, providing Him and the disciples with what they needed for their everyday life. Thus, the Myrrhbearing women were special lovers of the teachings that Jesus Christ preached, the zealots of enlightenment which He spread everywhere.

When we remember the Myrrhbearing women, it is proper for us to remember our women. What do we say about them? What do they like? What are their hobbies? How do they spend their time? What do they do? The poor ones for the most part work. But what are the rich doing, not the poor? Do they read, listen to something necessary, useful, salutary, divine? Do some even know how to read? They often complain about the emptiness of life, about boredom. But how can they not be bored, how can they not feel emptiness in life, when they do nothing good and, thus, live mostly for themselves and see others only as a burden? We, as rational beings, should be occupied and pleased by something smart, sensible, sacred, necessary for us, useful for others.

"What should we do, what should we do?" they say. Engage in the teaching of Jesus Christ, by reading and listening to Him. You will love this teaching and it will not leave you behind. Oh, what light there is for the mind, what joy for the soul, what gladness for the heart! Day and night you would begin to think about Him, you would never forget His advice, His instructions.

What should you do, what is there to do? Nowadays, everywhere, in cities and villages, so many schools are opening. Why don't you, especially the rich, as there are enough of you, why not take care of these schools, why not serve them as your own, delivering what is needed to the teachers and students in them? How much glory for God, benefit for neighbors, comfort for you! Indeed, in these schools all of Christ's teaching is taught, and thus, serving the schools, you, like the holy Myrrhbearers, would serve Christ, the one Teacher for all eternity.

What should you do, what is there for you to do? Oh, do everything in the name of Jesus Christ, for His sake, for the benefit of others, for the salvation of your neighbors, and then every deed, like fragrant ointment, will delight and please you in life, and you will earn good things for yourself and leave a good memory for yourself, one that is eternal. The example of the holy Myrrhbearers, glorified now by the Church, may remind you of what you should love and what you should mainly do, and may your own awareness of the emptiness of your life make you understand that you are not living the way you should, that you do not love, that you are not doing what you should.

Life not according to Jesus Christ, without true, holy love, without good deeds, without useful activities - is always boring, empty. Amen.