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May 9, 2022

Fourth Homily for the Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered in 1958)

Congratulations, congratulations to all of you, good women, all praying with me - congratulations on your great women's feast - the week of Myrrhbearing women. It is necessary that you understand well what this great day obliges you to understand why the significance of the week of the Myrrhbearing women is so great.

Why was it that our Lord Jesus Christ was the first after the resurrection to appear not to His apostles, but to them, the Myrrhbearing women? Why? Because the Lord knew the hearts of women and the hearts of men.

Of course, women's hearts are also different: not all of them are pure and holy before God. Not all women have perfect hearts, for we know that there are many evil women, about whom the ancient sage Jesus the Son of Sirach said: “You can endure ... any anger, but not the anger of a woman” (Sir. 25:15). There are many, many of these evil ones... But of course, we are not talking about them, not about the evil ones, not about the perishing ones. We are only talking about those who loved the Lord Jesus Christ with all their hearts, who left everything for His sake - about His Myrrhbearing saints.

They directed all their strength, all their zeal to serve Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, in His bodily needs; they did all the women's work that He needed. But this is not only the merit of these great women - the Myrrhbearing women. Their merit, first of all, is that their hearts were pure, holy, and perfect before God.

The Lord Jesus Christ chose, first of all, the Myrrhbearing women for His manifestation, because He knew how pure, how holy, how perfect women's hearts are if they follow the path of good and not the path of evil. The Lord knew that women, and first of all the Myrrhbearing women, would perceive His appearance after the Resurrection in a completely different way than men - than His apostles. He knew how difficult it would be for some of His apostles to believe that the Risen Christ was standing before them; and it was much easier for His Myrrhbearing companions. They understood everything that happened simply; their female perception is completely different from that of men. Women perceive truth, goodness, and grace directly, with their whole being, and above all, they perceive truth with their hearts.

Men are not like that: they perceive the truth only after being convinced of it with their minds. They need evidence from the mind, evidence not from the heart, as with women, but from the mind. That is why it was so difficult to believe the Apostles, why it was so easy and simple to believe the Myrrhbearing women that the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ Himself appeared to them.

That is why the Myrrhbearing women are awarded this greatest honor, this greatest happiness - to be the first to see the Risen Lord. Their hearts were pure, they easily perceived the truth, and therefore it was to them that the Lord Jesus Christ first appeared. To what does this great honor, received by the Myrrhbearing women from the Lord Jesus, oblige you women? It obliges you to many things, to many things: it obliges you all to ensure that they, the Myrrhbearing saints, are an example of faith, hope, love for everyone, and good and, like the apostles, these saints were appointed to become an example for all people.

And how can they be an example for all women? When the Lord Jesus lived on earth, when the Myrrhbearing women walked, like the apostles, after Him, they could directly serve Him with their loving care for Him and for His apostles. And when He resurrected and after forty days ascended into heaven, it became impossible to serve Him directly.

But there are other ways to serve Him. Don't you know that for our Lord Jesus Christ every poor person, every unfortunate person, every hungry and cold person is His younger sibling? Do you not know that at the Last Judgment the Lord will say to those placed on the left: “...I was hungry, and you did not give Me food; I was thirsty, and you did not give Me drink; I was a stranger, and you did not receive me; I was naked, and you did not clothe me; sick and in prison, and did not visit Me” (Matt. 25:42-43).

And those condemned to the Lord will say with amazement: “When did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not serve you?” (Matt. 25:44).

And the Lord Jesus Christ will say to them: “... since you did not do this to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me” (Matt. 25:45).

Therefore, these younger brethren, these hungry and cold, these unfortunate sick and wretched people are standing before you, today's women who want to imitate the Myrrhbearers.

You can serve them even now with your care, your love, your mercy – and in their person you will serve the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.