Day 34: No Future for the Church Without Women
BY MAURICIO LÓPEZ | March 22, 2021
Too many women, both in the Church and in society, are victims of a structural injustice and exclusion that seems to have no end. In the Church, we have a historical debt, which we cannot overlook, to reaffirm the irreplaceable role of women in the building of the Kingdom. We constantly talk about this, but very little is done to change.
The first reading reminds us that even today, in the third millennium, we need a conversion towards an honest recognition of equality and complementarity between women and men. This must pass from words to deeds as God’s will expresses in today’s readings, without room for doubt.
In the geographical and existential periphery of the Amazon—as a territorial experience that the Pope himself wanted to bring to the center of the Church and society to illuminate its transformation—there would be no ecclesial mission without women. In this territory, women represent 70% of the missionary presence with the people who cry out for justice, for relevant pastoral accompaniment, and for a significant presence with the little ones, the blessed.
However, women only hold 30% of the leadership positions in the Amazon. The quality of their presence, and the courage to reach and remain in places where no one else reaches, are irreplaceable. The Amazon Synod affirmed the need to confer special ministries to women, ones which recognize that without their presence there is no future for the Church. In the first reading, God himself, through the Holy Spirit, takes part in the tragedy of structural violence against women, and through a young man (Daniel) denounces and advocates for the respect of the rights and life of this woman who is a reflection of every woman excluded or unjustly denounced.
In the Gospel, Jesus himself experiences true alterity by finding in the face of the woman accused of adultery the call of God. After affirming her dignity, he denounces the structural injustice by urging that anyone who is free of sin cast the first stone. But, above all, Jesus shows us the way of redemption by embracing her with love, and inviting her to live with fullness and dignity from that moment on.
- What is my own attitude, as a believer of Jesus, in the face of the structural injustice against women in the Church and society?
- What is the invitation from God for us, as persons and as an ecclesial community, to take significant steps to achieve the changes and commitments consistent with today’s readings of the Gospel?
- Consider using this song as part of your prayer today.
Mauricio López is a member and former world president of Christian Life Community. He is co-founder of the Ecclesial Pan Amazon Network, REPAM, and acting executive secretary of the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon and director for Pastoral Action at CELAM (Latin American Episcopal Council).
This is a difficult question as some women have not been treated with respect while others feel quite respected. My history of the Church has been with deep respect and gratitude. During the 70’s many of us thought that ecclesial ordination was a moment away. It is now 2021. It is a different time and a different sacred place. I serve at my Church in every way I would like except to say Mass. I enjoy the fact that the Faith Formation Commission enjoys my wisdom and my perseverance. I enjoy serving at Mass. If I wanted to be a deacon, I would probably have to give up half of what I am doing. Really my main focus is to help people pray and serve the people of our parish. Now, that being said, there are many people I admire (Phyllis Zangano) who know a great deal about being a deacon and the early women deacons of the Church and I hope they will be able to use their gifts in service to one another. Again, when one thinks about the missionary workers of the Church one thinks of women all over the world who take care of the elderly, the disabled, the disenfranchised, the marginalized, the homeless, the students needing to be educated and many others.(I am truly the pacifist in the film “The Mission”) Most women who have certain gifts have a way of using them effectively/affectively in service to others. I do pray for all that they are one with the Holy Spirit in doing His will while they are on earth. Look at the smiles of the women in the picture above.
Serving God’s people and creation requires humility, patience, sacrifice, courage, goodwill and tons of stamina. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. May the Lord of the harvest invite zealous women and men to toil in His glorious vineyard.