“Women, hear the voice of gladness: ‘Trampling on the tyrant Hell, I have raised the world from corruption. Run, tell my friends the good tidings, for I wish joy to shine on what I fashioned from the source from which came grief’.” (Exapostilarion of Myrrh-Bearers’ Sunday)
In this hymn, Christ is addressing the Myrrh-Bearing women, and through them all women. He tells us not to walk, but to “run,” and tell His “friends” the good news of the resurrection. Thus He grants women a voice we did not properly have, ever since Adam was banished from paradise, – as God says to Adam, “Because you listened to the voice of your wife.” (Gen 3: 17) Now, right after His resurrection, Christ chooses to spread joy “from the source from which came grief,” the female voice, employing women as His witnesses and as the first messengers of the resurrection, – not only or primarily to other women, but to His male disciples.
The “voice” of women was not well-received by the Apostles, who thought their words to be “nonsense, and they did not believe them” (Lk 24: 11). And throughout Church History even up to our time, the voice of women, on the rare occasion that it is heard at all, is received not un-problematically. Hence from apostolic times, when women first reacted to their new vocation by being afraid “and did not say a word to anyone” (Mk 16:8), it continues to be difficult, both for women to speak in the Church, and for men to hear them. Nonetheless, it happens, by the grace of the risen Lord, Who continues to call us to the perilous business of being His “witnesses,” that we may overcome the brokenness of our communion with Him and one another. So let’s spread His joy today, as He calls us to do, saying: “Women, hear the voice of gladness!”
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