Daily Reflection May 5 2008: Monday the Seventh Week of Easter

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Collect of the Day:

Lord, send the power of your Holy Spirit upon us that we may remain faithful and do your will in our daily lives.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever One God world without end. Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: Act of the Apostles: Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?

The Gospel: John:16:29-33: Be brave: I have conquered the world.

In today’s Gospel we read that Jesus tells His Disciples that the time would come when they would be scattered and leave Him alone, in fact abandon Him in His hour of need, one would betray Him and another would deny Him three times. Out of all of His male followers only St. John would be there with Him at the foot of the cross. So then which of His other followers stayed true to Jesus at this time one might wonder? The answer is very simple His Women Followers! Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome, and of course the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In that poignant scene of the cross we see the faithful women in Jesus’ life. True, three of the gospels say that these women were standing at a distance, viewing the events of the cross; but John 19:25 says they were standing by the cross. These women of Galilee were dear friends of Jesus. They ministered to Him of their own means (Luke 8:3; Mark 15:41). Their sympathy, love and concern for Jesus in His ministry, and now in His death, must have greatly encouraged Jesus in the midst of cruel ridicule and unbelief.

Let us never underestimate the importance of these women. Others fled, but these devoted Disciples risked everything to comfort Jesus in His sorrow. It could not have been easy to witness the agony, shame and indignity of His death, but they firmly stood there. It is one thing to stand by Jesus in His hour of joy and victory, in the day of His power when He cured diseases and cast out demons and raised the dead. It is, however, another thing to stand by Him at the cross, when heaven seemed closed to His cries and the devil seemed so victorious. But these women stood fast. Nothing could overpower their love and sympathy for the Saviour. May we ever be as devoted and unwavering in our commitment to the Lord as these women were.

So why then has the Church been so misogynistic in it’s view of Women and their roles in Ministry? In The Catholic Weekly (Sydney Australia) Damir Govorcin wrote:

The ordination of women bishops in the Anglican Church further “deepens the obstacle” to reconciliation between our two Communions, says Bishop Michael Putney, Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations.

The Rev Canon Kay Goldsworthy will be consecrated a bishop on May 22, in St George’s Anglican Cathedral, Perth.

She will be the first woman to become a bishop in an Australian Church, although women have been appointed as bishops elsewhere in the Anglican Communion since 1989.

Bishop Michael said: “When the Anglican Communion world-wide began to ordain women priests, the Catholic Church made it clear to them that this was a further obstacle to reconciliation between our two Communions”.

“Ordination for women is a doctrinal issue, not just a practical issue for us. And the ordination of women bishops enhances that obstacle because bishops are the leaders of the Church, and even within the Anglican Communion that leadership will be received ambiguously.

“Some will not accept it, even within the Anglican Communion, so it enhances the obstacle to reconciliation.”

But why should this be the case? Many Conservative Traditionalists defend this misogyny by saying that the Priest is to be an “Icon” or representative of Christ, that when a Priest acts Liturgically and Sacramentally in the Name of the Church that they act in “Persona Christi“. I wholeheartedly agree that the Priest acts in “Persona Christi“, but does this automatically, ipso facto disqualify a Female from Apostolic Ministry? Of course not! Unless the main fact of the Salvic Quality of the Incarnation was that Christ was a Male.

St. Athanasius, when he defended Christ’s Divinity and its relationship to our Salvation said: “What has not been assumed, cannot be redeemed.” So therefore can we say then, that there is no salvation for Females because Christ was Male? What was important about Christ was, His HUMANITY, not His gender. This being the case it is plain to see that no reasonable objection to the Ordination of Women exists except in the hearts and minds of those who refuse to accept change.

Closing Prayer:

Holy Father and ever living God, we pray for all whom you have called to service in Your Church, whether to the Priestly or Consecrated Religious life. Be they Men or Women, give them the courage and Faith to follow the promptings of Your Holy Spirit.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever One God world without end. Amen.

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