Gospel Reading 15th May

Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women

(Mark 15:43-47, 16:1-8)


Mark 15:43-47 recounts the burial of Christ whilst 16:1-8 comprises the revelation of the Resurrection to the myrrh-bearing women. Central figures in the account are Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus as well as the myrrh-bearing women. Each of these figures provides a lesson for us.

Joseph of Arimathea was a rich man who listened to Christ with an open mind, but did not commit himself. Neither did Nicodemus, who was a learned man and part of the Jewish council known as the Sanhedrin. He too had been listening to Christ, had been asking questions from Him. He wanted to understand and be sure. And yet, when Christ was seemingly defeated in the eyes of everyone, when victory had come to His enemies, when He was dead, about to be buried, their faithfulness to Him who had taught them words of life came to the fore! Daringly they went to Pontius Pilate and asked for this body so they could bury Him with veneration.

And then there is another group, the myrrh-bearing women, who had been following Christ, supporting Him and His Disciples. When Christ was crucified, all the Apostles fled, with the exception of St John and these women. It was not an intellectual conviction that held them as Disciples of Christ. It was something greater, as defined in the words of those Disciples on the road to Emmaus: “was not our heart burning within us when He was speaking to us on the way!” (Lk 24:32). For these women, their hearts had come to life with a deep sense of life eternal.

So perhaps today, in these difficult times, we too are asked to prove our faithfulness. We should ask ourselves: do we belong to the example given by any of these persons? Can we also say that I am one of His Disciples, although in a time of no apparent danger I remained hesitant, unsure, asking myself questions, indeed asking Him questions?

None of us are perfect to the full; but let us learn from these aforementioned Disciples and try to grow into the faithfulness they showed, when to the world all seemed lost.



Source: April – May 2016 Lychnos Edition