Mothers and Myrrh-bearing Women
Soon after Jesus’ resurrection, the word of God continued to spread and the number of faithful greatly increased – so much so that the twelve disciples had difficulty in continuing to care for the widows and the daily distribution of food. To help in these important tasks, the disciples chose seven men from among their midst, including Stephen, who would become the first-martyr for the faith (see Acts 6:1-7).
Yet, men were not the only ones who followed Jesus and supported his ministry, both in his life, and at his death.
So, as we celebrate Mother’s Day, let us recall the myrrh-bearing women, who ran to the tomb on that first Easter morning.
The myrrh-bearing women are the eyewitnesses of Jesus’ death and the place of his burial. They are also the witnesses of his resurrection. And they are the ones who receive the glorious news from the angel, who tells them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”
As we read in Father Thomas Rosica’s book, Stay with Us…, Encounters with the Risen Lord:
“These women represented countless nameless yet devoted women who were part of the crowds Jesus addressed and in the homes he frequented.
“They were the courageous ones who reached out fearlessly to touch the fringe of his cloak.
“They shouted after him; they entered his hosts’ houses uninvited; they poured expensive perfumed nard over his feet.
“They knew the promise made to them, they welcomed him, they knew from Jesus’ own treatment of them the strength of their own testimony to him, and they were unafraid to show him great love.
“In the end, they stood beneath his dying body, while the men were hiding for fear of the authorities.
“It was the women who grounds spices for his burial and calculated how to roll back the stone from his tomb.
“They attended firmly to the business of his living and dying.
“[And] they were rewarded for their fidelity by being the first recipients of the Good News of the Resurrection” (pp. 45-46).
My late mother, Olga – God bless her sould, was also a myrrh-bearing women in her own right. As I’ve shared before, she taught me as a young boy about God, about love, and the importance of family and friends. She taught me about caring for neighbours. She taught me my daily prayers – the Our Father, the Hail Mary, how to make the sign of the Cross, and the Ten Commandments – in Ukrainian I might add, and even before I ever attended summer Catechism with the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate at the age of 5 (mom didn’t want the Sisters to think that she neglected her duty as a mother in passing down the faith to her children!).
Like my mother, your mother, all mothers are myrrh-bearing women. They received the Good News of the Resurrection of Our Lord that very first Easter morning. They received the great command to go tell others of the joy of the Gospel message, of God’s love and mercy in the world.
This Mother’s Day, let us offer a word of prayer and thanksgiving to God for all moms who have showed us love and raised us to be who we are today, truly children of God.
Happy Mother’s Day to all moms!
And to my mom, may God grant you eternal rest! I love you!