Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti!
On the feast of Saint George, I was at the celebration held at Saint George Church, in Media, PA. During the Divine Liturgy, Father Christ Kontos offered the homily of the day, noting that we live in an era of fear. This topic made a deep impression upon me, and it is one that I feel should be addressed.
Fear comes to us from various factors. Oftentimes, fear is a result of the realization of the unknown. We are afraid, because we are not sure of the unknown. Our everyday lives are ruled by fear. In order to open a bank account, one needs identification, for fear that one might be a terrorist opening a source for US funds. To travel on the airlines, one must be subjected to the often illogical methods of the TSA, as seen recently when the TSA terrorized a little three year old girl, who told them to stop touching her, a move that the TSA justified as standard procedure… I did not realize that little girls crying for their mothers were a safety threat…
Again, though, this fear comes from our not knowing what is out there waiting for us. However, in the midst of this, comes to mind the Myrrh Bearing women, whose memory we commemorated this past Sunday, and of whom I made mention in my last article. This group of women was comprised of Mary Magdalene, Mary (the wife of Cleopas, who was also a disciple of Christ), Martha (the sister of Lazarus), Joanna (the servant of Herod Antipas), Salome (the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee), and Susanna. Along with them, we celebrated the memory of Joseph of Arimathea, (a member of the Sanhedrin, and very wealthy, who asked Pontius Pilate for the Body of Christ) and Nikodemos, who would visit Christ at night to learn of His teachings. This group of followers had met Christ during His ministry on earth, listened to His teachings, and had given up everything to follow the Lord. Each one played a heroic role after the death and Resurrection of the Lord.
The Myrrh Bearing women, especially, show great courage, in the view of a normally and logically fearful time. While the Holy City of Jerusalem was just awakening to the “first of the Sabbaths,” the day of the Resurrection, this group of women gathered together, knowing that they could be put to death by the Jews for merely being followers of Christ, and yet, set out to anoint their Lord and Master. Fear did come upon them, even after realizing that, even if they managed to arrive to the Tomb, they would still have to contend with the Roman soldiers. Their dedication to their Teacher, as well as their determination to accomplish their duty to Him, was enough to expel all fear. To their amazement, when they arrived, the tomb was empty! Then, a sense of fear, mixed with excitement, seized them, as the angel of the Lord announced to them that He was not their… He has arisen… come and see the place where he had been laid to rest. Normally, that would be enough to scare anyone, but they were instructed to go back to the Disciples, and to tell them that He has arisen, as He had told them, while in Galilea. No need for fear… all is well.
When we realize that Christ is with us, each and every day, each and every moment of our lives, fear disappears. Christ, the True Saviour, God incarnate, is here, and He takes on our burdens and worries, and finds a solution to them, always.
As we hear so many times in the Gospel, “Do not fear…” Simply, BELIEVE! Believe in the One Who rose from the dead… Believe in the One Who does great wonders! Believe!