This gospel refers to the greatness of the role of women for
a better society. At the time that Christ’s disciples were waiting hidden in a secure place, “due to fear of
the Jews”, we see a few women, the
myrrh bearers, arriving courageously at Christ’s tomb without any fear
for their lives.
It was known to everybody that fanatical Jews were on the lookout to
violently attack anybody, who attempted through whatever means to steal
the dead crucified body of Jesus Christ, because they did not
believe in the prophecies concerning Christ’s Resurrection. They
thought that some followers of Christ would attempt to steal His body
and hide it, and then spread the rumor that He supposedly had risen from the
dead. This is why they insisted that Christ’s tomb be guarded night and
day by the Roman guards.
So, in the face of this frightful reality, Christ’s disciples thinking
logically, remained enclosed in a secure place, in the “loft” waiting to
see how the situation would unfold.
At the same time however, the Myrrh bearing women proceeded boldly
towards Christ’s Tomb. Under no circumstances were they afraid of the
dangers which the so called courageous men considered, who a little
while before were saying to Christ: ‘we will be with You to the end’; they claimed to be
ready to sacrifice themselves, but before “the cock crowed” they had denied
Him three times (Mk 14:72; Mk 14:27).
Finally, the fearless enthusiasm of the Myrrh bearing women is rewarded with God’s
heavenly gift of being the first fruits in the world to witness and see the Resurrection of
These women became the first people to give evidence of Christ’s
Resurrection. Historically, we also acknowledge another great woman, who represented the human race for the Incarnation of the Son and Word of God to be fulfilled, and who led all of us to our salvation through Christ. It is our All Holy Virgin, Theotokos, who replied with humility to
God’s calling, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be to me
according to Thy word”. These examples highlight the important status of woman within our
Church, as important and unique, with regards to the economy of our salvation.
Just as our All Holy Virgin gave her flesh to the Son and Word of God
for the salvation of all humanity, similarly today it is the woman, the
mother, the grandmother, the wife, the daughter who prepare with much reverence
and fear of God the consecrated bread which they give to the priest, who
as a servant offers it to God, Who in turn changes it into the Body of
Christ, and we with our worthy participation in the Sacrament of Holy
Communion all become the Holy Body of Christ.
Therefore, the role of the woman in this contemporary age, with its own failings and
multifaceted social problems, becomes even more important so that we can
have hope for a better world. For example, women’s contribution
in the protection and in the strengthening of the family institution is
something that is all the more necessary. In the face of crisis within
the family institution, many families suffer and separate. Contemporary
woman is therefore invited to play a brave, uniting, patient, reconciliatory
and affectionate role, which will protect the entire family body. When
the family is protected and stands tall, then the whole family body
moves forward progressively.
However, for modern woman to be able to respond to her lofty mission, she
is required with faith in God to have as an example in her life, our All Holy
Virgin Theotokos, all the Holy and great Women saints, and the Myrrh- bearers.
The first phase of preparation for following the example of such holy figures is to take our
children to Sunday school. The second phase is the example of the holy
life of the parents during day to day life. The third stage is the harmonious and respectable
environment which we create for our children from home. The fourth stage involves
our worthy and professional educators, who simultaneously constitute the
prototypes of moral or honorable examples. All these stages however look to our personal
preparation so that we might live in the stage/state of virtues with our
worthy participation in the holy life of our Church, in the Holy
Sacraments, together with our participation in the ongoing developmental, charitable, and
missionary work of our Church. In this way we become ready to develop an
enormous responsible consciousness in the local and universal Christian family, whose
presence in this disoriented society that we live in constitutes an oasis for
So, in the persons of the Myrrh bearing women in today’s Gospel extract
we honor those women who are courageous, honest, responsible, devout and remarkable pioneers,
who with their works and holy attitudes, make all of us feel indebted and grateful.