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the Mother of God

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the disciple
whom Jesus loved

Text by Victor Hoagland, C.P.

Jesus and Women

SpacerIt was unusual for a Jewish teacher to associate so closely with women. Yet Jesus did. He had none of the prejudices against them common in his time. For him, women were children of God, not the servants of man. He spoke out for their rights. When the Pharisees asked him about the Jewish laws of divorce which notoriously favored men, Jesus took the part of the women. "From the beginning, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one...What God has joined together, let no man put asunder."

SpacerIn teaching, he often used women as examples of faith, in contrast to the well-measured reactions of the Jewish leaders and his own disciples. As he sat in the Temple area near the treasury one day, he called attention to a poor widow, who gave her two small coins as an offering, while others better off than she gave large gifts. "She put in everything she had!" Jesus told his disciples in admiration.

SpacerAt a banquet in the house of Simon the Pharisee, a woman of the town who was a sinner came and knelt before him, washing his feet with her tears, drying them with her hair, kissing them and anointing them with precious oil. The Pharisee thought this out of place, but Jesus saw how right the woman's action was. "Her many sins have been forgiven; she has shown great love", and praising the woman's faith, he told her to go in peace.

SpacerMany of Jesus' parables portray the activity of women, their spirit, their faith and their courage. He speaks of the woman who searches for a lost coin, the woman who places yeast in the mass of dough, the woman who pleads with the unjust judge. The stories reveal a God who does not work only in the world of men. His teachings show that Jesus viewed women with respect and admiration. He was not uneasy with them. He did not patronize or slight them.

SpacerPerhaps it was because they sensed how different he was that so many women, like Mary Magdalen, approached Jesus. He welcomed them as if they were family. "Who are my mother and my brothers?" And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother".



Detail of Engraving
Detail of
Widow's Mite,
engraving by Doré

Illustration of coin

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