“The noble Joseph, taking Thine immaculate Body down from the Tree, and having wrapped It in pure linen and spices, laid It for burial in a new tomb. But on the third day Thou didst arise, O Lord, granting to the world Great Mercy.” APOLYTIKION OF JOSEPH OF ARIMATHAEA IN TONE TWO
“Unto the myrrh-bearing women did the Angel cry out as he stood by the grave: Myrrh-oils are meet for the dead, but Christ hath proved to be a stranger to corruption. But cry out: The Lord is risen, granting to the world Great Mercy.” APOLYTIKION OF THE MYRRH-BEARING WOMEN IN TONE TWO
Dear believers in the Resurrection of Christ,
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen.
This Sunday we celebrate Joseph of Arimathea and the Myrrh-bearing women. I want to pray for our women organization which is named after the Holy Myrrh-Bearing women, many years to you.
In the example of these women and Joseph of Arimathea we see an example of courage to confess Christ today. These women took a risk to go to the tomb of Christ early Sunday morning. Jesus died as a “criminal” condemned to death on the cross. Joseph had courage to ask for the body of a man who was judged by others as “blasphemer” against God. While all 10 disciples run away in fear filled with confusion, these women and Joseph wanted to do what is right and finish the anointing of the body of Jesus. We live today in a world that challenges our Orthodox Christian Faith, and we can be judged as “fundamentalist”, radical, or even anti something. To stand for Christ today and live the Christian life with moral values of the Orthodox Christian Faith we can be judged by others. Our children and young adults are facing every day ridicule in standing for Christ and to live a holy life. Their peers consider them “weird” and not capable to fit in their group. We need courage to live our Christian Orthodox vocation today.
Fr. Philip LeMasters writes: “As we continue to celebrate our Savior’s great victory over death on this Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women, it should be clear that the new life He has brought into the world requires our active faithfulness, regardless of whether we think that we are getting what we want…We should learn from their holy example that the way to participate in the joy of the empty tomb is in serving Our Lord in His Body. It is in putting aside our preferences in order to love Him in the members of the His Body, the Church. That includes addressing all the practical challenges that any parish faces: from cutting the grass and teaching Sunday School to chanting and caring for the needy. And since the Savior identified Himself with every person in need, this calling extends to every area of our lives and every person we encounter. As the apostles knew when they ordained the first deacons, no one can perform every ministry in the Church. No one of us has to do it all. But we must all use our gifts to do what needs to be done for the flourishing of the Church, even if it is not what we would prefer to do. In other words, all of us need to get over the self-centered individualism that so easily leads to making God in our own image and judging Him by our own standards. Just as Joseph, Nicodemus, the myrrh-bearing women, and the first deacons did not flee when their hopes were dashed, we must not abandon His Body the Church when our desires go unfulfilled, when our problems do not go away, and when God does not give us everything we want. Like them, we will participate more fully in the joy of eternal life by getting over ourselves and doing what needs to be done in loving and serving our Lord in our parish, our neighbors, and our families.”
In the crucified Christ,