TO HEAR THE WORD. SERMON ON SUNDAY OF THE HOLY MYRRH BEARERS. 08.05.2022
Today, on Sunday of the Holy Myrrh Bearers, we recollect the events related to the women who were near Christ during His lifetime and even after His death, they could not leave Him. After the burial of Christ, His disciples were both full of sorrow and fear, because they remained simple people. The Holy Spirit had not descended on them yet and had not made them “gods”, with no initial capital, according to God’s grace, as the Lord says, “You are gods” (Ps. 81:6). Human wise, we may understand St. Peter the Apostle, who said, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death” (Lk. 22:33) and betrayed Him right away. Every person happens to fear. That is why I repeat, they did not only come through a big sorrow, but they also felt a great fear of the dreadful persecutions, which actually happened soon. When He was near, holding them by the hand, they felt secure. Then, His Fatherly hand was not there, and they simply felt as if the ground dropped away under their feet.
Fighting down their terror, at night – and it is even scarier at night – the women, not the men, not the Apostles, went to the Sepulcher. They did not even know who would roll back the stone from the door for them. They went knowing that the Sepulcher was sealed and guarded, and that the disciples were persecuted. Nevertheless, some force made them go, in the middle of the night, fighting down their terror. The strongest power on earth is the power of love. Nothing can be stronger. Whether it be duty, a sense of responsibility, the fear of punishment, nor even the fear of death. People, who are spurred on by love do not even fight their terror, they simply forget about it. What makes a cat jump furiously at a huge dog while protecting her kitten? What makes her mad? Love does.
Those Myrrh Bearers went at night fighting down their terror and shiver, guided by the power of love to the One, Who was buried there, behind that stone. They had not read the Holy Gospel yet and they did not know what would happen next, that He would resurrect to His great glory. They were still simple women who saw only the burial of a dead man.
In order to have such a big power of love, one needs to fall in love. Meanwhile, in order to fall in love, something should happen in the relationship. They were not captured by His words or by His teaching, as some other people could also speak wisely and beautifully. First of all, Christ did not bring the word, but He brought Himself in that word, in the way people listened to Him and felt the Spirit of Him, the Spirit of Love, the Divine Spirit. These days, the Holy Gospel has been examined through and through, learned and resolved into quotations, but at the same time, it may remain dead and moving no one. We may stand on the ambon and say a rhetorically strong and structured sermon, but it may lack the Spirit and soul sometimes. Christ should speak through the preacher, who shares the word, in this case, the word will be convincing and it will conquer nations.
They heard neither a wise word, nor a homily from Him, but they felt Himself. For not only listening to Him, they needed to enter into a relationship with Him, which was subtler and deeper than listening. “Eye to eye”, as people say, when no words are needed.
That is why our purpose in church is not only reading and learning, and not simply going to church. We need Him. If we have stood out the Liturgy, but He was not there, then the Liturgy was dead. He should be there, and this is our purpose. We should not just come, fulfill our duty and leave satisfied. Throughout our whole spiritual lives, we should always be concerned about seeking Him, repeating all the time, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Where are You, Beloved?” These are the words of a soul, which is the bride of Christ. We should say so not only at a Liturgy, but also during our whole lives. Whether we work, do something, or go somewhere, we should not stop reciting the prayer, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”
Our hope and faith are tested on the cross. It is easy to love in favorable times. However, on the night after the Crucifixion, it turned into a cross-bearing, fear and challenge. Moreover, some days ago, thousands of people surrounded Him, but then, only a few remained. Only those who loved Him truly. And love guided them, making them fight down their fear and sense of danger. It pushed and pushed them there. They could not sleep, sit, eat, or drink. They strained after that place and went there.