A master was visiting a house in the village. Gathered around him were men and one woman, listening to him speak. The woman’s sister was struggling to do what was necessary for all the guests, so she came over and spoke to the Master, asking if he did not care that her sister was not helping out. The Master replied,
“[Y]ou are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. [X] has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her” Luke 10:41-42
In those days it was accepted that the Jewish men were disciples and sat around learning from the master. The woman’s role was home/family. Here Jesus says that he wants women as his disciples too. An equality for both men and women. For the actual wording of the entire story read Luke 10:38-42.
The first person to learn about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and share that news with the disciples? A woman, Mary Magdalene. There are quite a few instances throughout the gospel of Luke where we see significant interactions between women and Jesus Christ, contrary to the norms of the time. And after the death of Jesus it was the heads of community who lead celebrations whether man/woman. So, why is it different in the Catholic Church today where it is men who seem to be the leaders of the faith?
Roman Emperor Constantine (272 – 337 AD), the first Christian emperor. In making Christianity mainstream many of the prevailing Roman ways were adopted, including the roles of men as leaders and women as housewives.
The roles that men and women play is one of the polarizing topics in the Catholic Church today. And change/if any in a faith that is built heavily on the twin pillars of tradition and scripture will be slow. Yet, like all the problems facing the world today it is one person, a chosen person who can make significant change/difference. In our modern times we have had people like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Mother Theresa. We had Abraham in Genesis from whose line was born the leaders of Jews and eventually Jesus Christ. And today I see hope in Pope Francis. A man who has set a dramatically differently tone from the first day of taking office. In listening to what Pope Francis says I have hope that no matter the outcome there will be greater understanding and true communication within and without the church.