Sunday, January 4, 2015

A New Epiphany: How About Women as Priests, Bishops, Cardinals, Pope!

Today the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the great Feast of the Epiphany. Growing up, we celebrated this feast on January 6th. It was a fairly big deal in my part of Euclid, because, not only did it mark the end of the Christmas season, but it marked Little Christmas for the Byzantine Catholics at St. Stephen's Church on Lloyd Road.

In today's second reading, from St. Paul to the Ephesians, we get this revolutionary proclamation:

It was not made known to people in other generations 
as it has now been revealed
to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: 
that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

I imagine in its day these were astonishing and difficult words for the Jews who were also followers of Jesus. It was as if Paul said aliens could also be followers of Jesus.

What we need today is a new epiphany. The word "epiphany" can mean "manifestation" or "sudden insight." The new epiphany is that women are the equal to men (how can those words even be uttered or written without the thought--"Well, duh . . . Of course!"). Of course. How can there be any genuine reason that women cannot be deacons, priests, bishops, and even pope? The old arguments, beginning with Jesus and the apostles being male, carry no weight at all! Of course 2000 years ago the world was not ready to hear that women were the equals of men. Then again, the world of Jewish-Christians or Christian-Jews (however you want to characterize these early communities) might not have been ready to hear that Gentiles could be followers of Jesus.

But this is the moment of kairos! We are ready to hear these prophetic words. We need brave men and women, with stature in the religious community, to stand up and proclaim the truth, just as St. Paul did almost 2000 years ago.

No comments: