Sunday, May 19, 2013
Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women
and St. Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus
A short selection from the Homily by St. Nikolai Velimirovich
Luke 15:43 - 16:8
Very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun. ... And entering into the sepulcher, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment, and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them: Be not affrighted; ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified. He is risen; He is not here; behold the place where they laid Him. But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you.
God’s resplendent angel first calms the women’s fear and terror, in order to prepare them for the strange tidings of the Lord’s Resurrection. The women were first surprised to see the tomb open, and then terrified at finding there in the tomb, not Him whom they were seeking, but someone whom they were not expecting. Why does the angel speak so specifically, Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified? In order that there should be no possible doubt or confusion about Him who had risen. The angel speaks so specifically both for the women’s sake and for that of all future ages and generations. The angel has the same intention in showing them the empty tomb: Behold the place where they laid Him. It was superfluous to say this to the women, who had seen with their own eyes what the angel was telling them, but it was not so for the human race, for whom the Lord died and rose again. He is risen; He is not here. The heavenly messenger proclaims the greatest tidings in the whole of human history in the briefest and simplest possible way: He is risen; He is not here. For the immortal angelic hosts, it was the Lord’s death that was more amazing than His Resurrection. For mortal men, the reverse was the case.
After this, the angel told the women to proclaim these joyful tidings to the apostles and to Peter. Why did the angel say, “and to Peter?” Surely because Peter was feeling far more confused than the other disciples. His conscience must have been pricking him for having three times denied the Lord, and for having fled from Him... He needed to be set back on his feet and to have dignity as a man and an apostle restored to him. The Lord, in His love for mankind, did this now, and this is why the angel made special mention of him.