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).