The Bible on Traditional Men and Women’s Roles #2

Mens roles in the Old Testament are very clear as leaders.  Women have their part in cooperating with God’s plans.  It begins with Noah.  Then we see that through Abraham’s seed will come the people of God and the Messiah Jesus.  But it is through divine intervention a miracle happens where Sara conceives in her old age and gives birth to  Isaac.  Isaac has Jacob and Esau and through their mother’s advice Jacob receives his fathers blessing.  Jacob is the father of the twelve sons who the twelve tribes of Israel are named after.  Joseph is sold into slavery in Egypt but becomes the Pharaoh’s chief steward.

dsc_0179The Egyptian Pharaoh orders the killing of all male babies.  Moses’ father was of the house of Levi.  His mother conceived him and hid him for three months.  He is saved by a woman (Pharaoh’s daughter) who, as a mother, adopts him.  After fleeing from Egypt, Moses defends Jethro’s seven daughters when watering their sheep.  Because of this he is given hospitality and marries one of Jethro’s daughters.

Moses is called at the burning bush by God to be the spiritual leader of his people.  God demands of him to be manly and return to Egypt where they were trying to kill him, to tell the Pharaoh to “Let my people go to sacrifice to me”.   This is very important to remember, because God wanted freedom for His people so that they could obey Him and offer sacrifices to Him.  God repeats this to Moses, “to sacrifice to me”, so many times.

When Pharaoh will not listen to God through Moses, the final plague was the death of all first born.  “For when Pharaoh was hardened, and would not let us go, the Lord slew every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of man to the firstborn of beasts: therfore I sacrifice to the Lord all that openeth the womb of the male sex, and all the firstborn of my sons I redeem”.  Exodus 13: 15.  In the footnote in the Douay Rheims Bible commentary on this passage it states: “Sanctify unto me every firstborn.  Sanctification in this place means that the first born males of the Hebrews should be deputed to the ministry in the divine worship, and the firstborn of beasts to be given in sacrifice”.

Men are also called to offer sacrifices or to do service to God.  We see this in the very  beginning of the Bible with Abel offering sacrifice, in Noah offering sacrifice, and in Abraham offering sacrifices.

Sacred HeartIn the Holy Scriptures God is always referred to in a masculine form.  We know that God is way beyond being male or female.  But masculine characteristics of strength are more similar to the great power of God.  God initiates actions.  The prophets, who were persecuted for proclaiming God’s word, were all men.  All the authors of the books of the Bible are men.  The Angels are called by men’s names and when they appear they take on the form of men.

This in no way makes women of less value.  But God chose to work mostly through men except when it came to Mary.  Again, God is the one to get angry at because He so deemed to work mostly through men.  As we become more and more feminine in our Church, our schools, our armies, and our politics, we will become less and less balanced.  Women definitely balance out men.  But this needs to be done in God’s way, not the domineering women’s way.

Pieta 2Mary is the supreme human being. Yes she is like us in our human nature but not in our fallen human nature.  God prepared her to be the mother of His Divine Son Jesus.  Mary shows us how to be fully human and fully holy.

Her unique role in salvation history surpasses all the men in the Bible.  Only by her co-operating with God could “The Word become Flesh”.  Her total donation of her heart, soul, and body allowed the Holy Spirit to conceive Jesus Christ in her heart and womb.  She is the new Arc of the Covenant.  She is the Mother of God, Jesus.

If Mary had never said yes to the Angel Gabriel’s salutation and God’s request, God could not have become incarnated to save humanity.  The death on the cross could never have happened, if it had not been for conception of the Savior in Mary’s womb.  For this reason all graces won by the death of Jesus on the cross for us sinners comes to us through this humble slave Mary.  Jesus is God.  Jesus is our Savior.  But Mary was the woman who gave humanity’s flesh to Him so He could offer it up and die for us sinners on the cross.

Jesus incarnated, or took on human flesh, as a male.  But Mary, a mere human, was the instrument God choose to use.  We are so fortunate to have Mary in the Catholic Church and to appreciate her role in salvation history.  But she never wanted to dominate the apostles or to run the early church like St. Peter.  She was not sent out to preach.  But her simple yes and her simple donation of her self to God, was by far more important.   Mary continues her co-operation with God in heaven.

Jesus asks us to be humble servants to co-operate in bringing about His Kingdom.  We all have our different talents and missions as men and women.  He asks us to be “meek and humble of heart” like he is.  Mary is so great in the plan of salvation precisely because of her humble heart and obedience.  The devil could have done great things for God with his great intelligence and powers.  Yet he was so proud that he rebelled against the plan of God instead of humbly serving Him.  May we always imitate Mary’s humility.  Mary was not bossy and mean.  Mary was not out to have things her way but always God’s way.  We are so fortunate to be humble servants of God for the Traditional Catholic Church like Mary.