On Wednesday in Holy Week the Holy Fathers have decreed the commemoration of the sinful woman who anointed the Lord with myrrh, as this occurred shortly before His saving Passion.
A woman pouring myrrh over Christ’s body anticipated the embalming by Nicodemus.
Anointed with spiritual myrrh, Christ God, free us from passions that overwhelm, and be merciful to us as the One who alone is holy and loves humankind. Amen.
The sinful woman, aware that You, the Virgin’s son, were God, and having done things deserving of tears, weeping, implored You: “Undo my debt even as I undo my braids; love her who embraces You, though she be justly despised; and with the publicans I will proclaim You, loving benefactor.”
The harlot blended priceless myrrh with tears, and poured it over Your immaculate feet as she kissed them. Her You justified at once; will You likewise grant us forgiveness, Who suffered for us, and save us?
As the sinful woman was offering myrrh, the disciple was making terms with the lawless. She found joy pouring out what was precious; he hastened to sell out the priceless One; she acknowledged the Master, he cut himself off from the Master; she was set free, he fell slave to the enemy. What unspeakable callousness! How great the repentance! Grant me this, O Savior who suffered for us, and save us.
Oh, the wretchedness of Judas! As he watched the sinful woman kissing Your feet, he cunningly plotted the kiss of betrayal. As she unbound her tresses, he was bound by his anger, bearing foul wickedness instead of myrrh. For reason does not know enough to seek what is best. Oh, the wretchedness of Judas! Deliver us from it, O God.
The sinful woman hastened to buy precious myrrh to anoint her benefactor. And to the perfumer she cried: “Give me myrrh that I in turn may anoint Him who has wiped away all my sins.”
She who was drowning in vice found You a haven of salvation, and pouring out myrrh mixed with tears cried out to You: “Look at me, You who bear the contrition of sinners. Master, in Your great mercy rescue me from the tempest of sin.”
Today Christ comes to the house of the Pharisee, and a sinful woman approaches, groveling at His feet and crying out: “Look on me drowning in sin, despairing of my actions, yet because of Your goodness not despised. Give me, Lord, remission from evil, and save me!”
The harlot spread out her hair for You the Master; Judas spread out his hand toward the wicked: she to gain pardon, he to gain silver. And so we cry out to You, sold for our freedom, Lord, glory to You.
She came to You, Savior, a woman reeking of depravity, shedding tears at Your feet and foretelling Your Passion. “How can I face You, Master? For You have come to redeem a harlot, You who raised Lazarus, four days in the tomb, raise me up, dead in the depths. Accept me, Lord, wretched as I am, and save me.”
Despairing of her way of life, and well known for its manner, she came to You bearing the myrrh and crying: “Son of the Virgin, do not reject me; Joy of the angels, do not spurn my tears; but accept me repenting, Lord, whom in Your great kindness, though a sinner, You have not driven away.”
Behold, the Bridegroom sets forth in the dead of night. And blessed is that servant whom he shall find on watch; unworthy the one he shall come upon lazing. See to it, soul, that sleep does not overtake you, lest you be given up to death and be shut out of the kingdom. Bestir yourself, then, and sing out: “Holy, holy, holy are You, our God; through the prayers of the Theotokos, save us.
Loving God, the woman taken in sin approached You, pouring out on Your feet myrrh mixed with tears, and at Your word she is rid of the odiousness of her acts. But the disciple, lacking all grace, though he lived by Your grace, rejects it and covers himself in mire, selling You out for greed. Glory to Your forbearance, O Christ.
The wily Judas, possessed by love of money, plotted craftily how to betray You, Lord, the very treasure-house of life. Besotted, he runs to the lawless men and says, “What will you give me to turn Him over to you to be crucified?”
As the harlot lovingly dried Your undefiled feet with her hair, weeping, groaning from deep within, she cried out to You: “My God, do not cast me away or regard me with loathing, but accept me repenting and save me, as the One who alone loves mankind!”
Though I have outdone the harlot in sin, yet I have offered You no shower of tears. Rather, I fall before You fervently kissing Your spotless feet, praying silently that, as Master, You will remit my debts as I cry: “Savior, free me from the foulness of my deeds!”
The former prodigal suddenly turned chaste, despising the base acts of sin and carnal pleasure, reflecting o the profound shame and the judgement of hell that harlots and wantons suffer. I have become the worst of these and am terrified, yet, fool that I am, I persist in my ugly habit. But the woman taken in sin, troubled and in haste, came crying out to the Redeemer, “Loving and merciful One, free me from the foulness of my deeds!”