Father Rodney Torbic

April 9 / 22, 2018

The Sunday of the Myrrhbearers

Mark 15:43-16:8

Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid. And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, 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. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid. (KJV)

Joseph of Arimathea was a courageous man. He showed interest in caring for the body of Jesus Christ. By taking an interest in the body of the Crucified Christ, Joseph may have put himself in an unpopular and even dangerous position.

Sufficient support existed at the time for Jesus to be crucified. Followers of Jesus could face the possibility of a similar hostility. In present times Christians in certain areas put themselves in peril when openly practicing their faith.

Certainly Christians in Kosovo and certain parts of the Middle East face hostility. The destroyed monasteries and churches in Kosovo in recent years bear witness to the fact that Christians are targeted in that area.

Pilate was interested in verifying Jesusí death before releasing Jesusí body. The report of the verification of Jesusí death is a major point of reference in celebrating the Resurrection.

To believe in the Resurrection, establishing that Jesus was actually dead has to have taken place. This is a critical Biblical text which has survived through the centuries. The death of Jesus has not been discredited.

The Church holds to this message of the Holy Gospel and proclaims it throughout the world with regularity and conviction. Joseph was granted the body of Jesus. What a special blessing this was for Joseph.

Joseph was a special man to ask for the body of Christ. Josephís actions to get the body of Christ bring to mind believers stepping forward to partake of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ in the Divine Liturgy.

A personís identity is revealed when he or she steps forward to partake of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ. Joseph of Arimathea did not remain hidden in the crowd. Joseph did not remain anonymous i