Woman, thou art loosed~

Fr. Cantalamessa, ofm.cap, the Preacher of the Pontifical Household, spoke very eloquently on the dignity of women in his homily this past Sunday, in which he chose to reflect on the Reading from Proverbs rather than the Gospel [courtesy Zenit]:

"To know the authentic and definitive biblical thought on woman one must look at Jesus. He was not, as one would say today, a 'feminist'; he never made an explicit analysis or criticism of the institutions and relations between classes and sexes. In his mission, the difference between man and woman has no weight. Both are images of God, both need redemption. But for this reason precisely he is able to unmask the deformations that have led to subjecting woman to man. Jesus is free before woman: He does not see her as a snare or a threat, and this allows him to break many prejudices.

Jesus does not refuse to speak with women, to teach them, to make them his disciples. Risen, he shows himself first of all to a group of women, who then become his first witnesses. From his lips there is never a word of contempt or irony for woman, something that was rather commonplace in the culture of the age, penetrated by misogyny. The salvation of woman is as important for Jesus as that of man. That is why many of his miracles affected women. I am moved by one in particular: the healing of a woman who for 18 years 'was bent over and could not fully straighten herself' (cf. Luke 13:10). Jesus called her and said: 'Woman, you are free from your infirmity.' Immediately she was made straight and praised God.

That woman, whom Jesus called and to whom he said, 'you are free!' who now can raise her head, look at people in the face, see the sky, glorify God and feel like a person again, is a powerful symbol. She is not just one woman; she represents the feminine condition. She is every woman who does not walk bent over, not because of an illness, but because of the oppression to which she has been subjected to in almost all cultures. What freedom and what hope is contained in this cry of Jesus!One of the positive events of our age is the emancipation of women, their equality of rights. In the apostolic letter on the dignity of woman ('Mulieris Dignitatem'), John Paul II underlined the contribution the Church wants to make to this sign of the times.Woman (like man) has a powerful ally in this journey of authentic liberation -- the Holy Spirit. He himself 'bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God' (Romans 8:16) gives us the real meaning of our dignity and freedom."

It's important for us to reflect on what this Scripture means for all of us, as the Penitent Blogger exhorts. What a joy that the Capuchin Preacher has led the way in this regard!

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