Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Against male power

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
October 2, 2012

Mark 10:1-12

The Pharisees posed a question to Jesus to test him. This time it isn't a minor issue, but a fact that makes the women of Galilee suffer greatly and is a source of lively discussions among the followers of various rabbinical schools: "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?".

It's not about modern divorce as we know it today, but the problem Jewish women experienced in marriage, controlled by men. According to the law of Moses, the husband could break the matrimonial contract and expel his wife from the home. The woman, on the other hand, subject to the man in everything, couldn't do the same.

Jesus' answer surprises everyone. He doesn't get into the rabbis' discussion. He invites us to discover God's original plan, which is above laws and regulations. Specifically, this "chauvinist" law was imposed on the Jewish people because of the "hardness of heart" of the men who controlled the women and subjected them to their will.

Jesus delves deeper into the original mystery of the human being. God "created them, male and female". The two have been created equally. God hasn't created man with power over woman. He hasn't created woman to be subjected to man. Among men and women there should not be domination by anybody.

From this original structure of the human being, Jesus offers a view of matrimony that goes beyond all that was established because of men's "hardness of heart." Women and men will unite to "become one flesh" and begin a shared life in mutual self-giving without imposition or submission. It's God himself who draws them to live together in a free and gratuitous love. Jesus concludes flatly: "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder."

With this position, Jesus is destroying from the roots the basis of patriarchy in all its forms of control, submission and imposition of man over woman. Not only in matrimony but in any civil or religious institution.

We have to listen to Jesus' message. It isn't possible to make way for the Kingdom of God and His justice without struggling actively against patriarchy. When will we react in the Church with evangelical fervor against so much abuse, violence and aggression of men against women? When will we defend women against men's "hardness of heart"?

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