Women were the first to see Christ.
Mary became a temple to carry the living God. His heart beat inside of her, she felt his kicks, she fed him from her body. Mary was there.
Some years later, it was women at his feet as he hung on the cross, and three days later, it was women at the door of his tomb.
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” Jn 20:1-2
A woman was the first to proclaim the news of an empty tomb. And the men came, and then left. John tells us they believed, but did not understand.
But Mary stayed.
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?: Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jn 20:11-16
Jesus first appeared to a woman.
Luke fills us in on what happened after the women ran to get the male disciples.
It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Luke 24:10-11
Women were the first to proclaim the good news of Christ’s resurrection, and they were not believed.
And today, when women say that they are capable to proclaim that good news today, they are still not believed. When women say they are able to hold the body of Christ in their hands, they are still not believed. A woman carried the body of Christ in her womb, woman proclaimed the news, and women are told to be silent today.
Women are not better than men, but they certainly are not worse. The disciples doubted, and Mary did not recognize the risen Christ. We are all human, we are all flawed, but women not more than men.
You can quote Paul’s letters when he tells women to sit down and shut up, and I can counter with historian’s belief that 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 was added in later. You can quote 1 Timothy 2:8-15 and I can point out all the women who did serve, did prophesy in the early Church. I can remind you those letters were written to a specific people, in a specific time and place, very different from our own. Women were not educated then, but they are today. We live in a different world, a one where a religion will not be laughed at and mocked because it allows women to lead. The disciples goal was to build the church, a church they did not think would last more than a few years. They were not writing to the 21st century, they were not envisioning a world where one day, women would be treated as equals. They had no time for that. A religion which gave women authority? Surely that would falter and fail.
The Catholic Church holds women in high regard, but I would suggest perhaps not as in high regard as we would like to believe. We honor women as saints, we recognize their human dignity, and we prohibit them from the altar.
What did Jesus say to the men who rebuked the woman who was attempting to serve?
Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her. Mark 14:9
I pray that the Catholic Church continues to grow, continues to evolve, continues to hold steadfast in its desire to be the body of Christ. I believe that his body includes women, though, and does not push them to the margins. I pray that we follow Christ, rather than acquiesce to culture.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:28
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Gen 2:18
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