IN THE time of Jesus and especially in Jewish society women had an inferior status. No spiritual master would have spoken to a woman in public: women were not even admitted to the synagogues. Nevertheless, Jesus did not pay the least attention to such universally accepted prejudices.
Various women took Jesus’ words and attitude as a call to freedom. They even joined the circle of his intimate friends while ignoring the gossip.
Here we have a fundamental testimony about freedom of the Gospel.
Jesus was truly human, and as such he belonged to a race and a culture: he was a Jew of his time and his Gospel was attuned to the culture that he shared. Yet Jesus did not adopt the inhuman traits of his culture; nor did he accept the prejudices of the Jews of his time with regard to women, to public sinners, to pagans and so on, nor did he share these views in regard to the Sabbath. His Gospel is a leaven that changes cultures for the better, in many respects his way of life goes against the mainstream of cultures.
Mary of Magdala (Magdala was a village on the shore of Lake Tiberias) will be at the foot of the cross along with Mary, the wife of Cleophas, the mother of James and Joset. These two women, along with Joanna, will receive the first news of the Resurrection (Luc 24:10).
Since all men possess a rational soul and are created in God’s likeness, since they have the same nature and origin, have been redeemed by Christ and enjoy the same divine calling and destiny, the basic equality of all must receive increasingly greater recognition.
True, all men are not alike from the point of view of varying physical power and the diversity of intellectual and moral resources. Nevertheless, with respect to the fundamental rights of the person, every type of discrimination whether social or cultural, whether based on sex, color, social conviction, language or religion, or to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God’s intent. For in truth, it must still be regretted that fundamental personal rights are still not being universally honored.
Such is the case of a woman who is denied the right to choose a husband freely, to embrace a state of life or to acquire an education or cultural benefits equal to those recognized for men.
Therefore, although rightful differences exist between men, the equal dignity of persons demands that a more humane and just condition of life be brought about.
Human institutions, both private and public, must labor to minister to the dignity and purpose of man. At the same time let them put up a stubborn fight against any kind of slavery, whether social or political, and safeguard the basic rights of man under every political system.
In the PN Roa Elementary School in our subdivision we had the horrible experience that an elementary school student who is 15 years old stubbed his teacher to death. He was enraged because his teacher scolded him that he was always absent from school. The teachers in the school and the catechists started a campaign to raise funds for buying flowers for the funeral. One catechist, a religious sister at that, refused to give any contribution because she said: I am not a relative of that teacher, I am not obliged to give anything for that purpose.
Talking about freedom of the Gospel – how can you say that as a religious sister!
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Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 10, 2017.