Palm Sunday: A Woman’s Reflections on Holy Week

“One should not forget that equality does not imply identity. That men and women have an equal dignity does not imply that they are identical. On the contrary, the equal dignity of men and women requires respect for the specificity of both. By wanting to react against the real abuses of a patriarchy reduced to male chauvinism too many women have let themselves be deprived of a comparative privilege that has been theirs since the beginning of time: that of making a loving relationship prevail over force, and especially that of being the first in welcoming life.”

-Vittorio Mathieu, “Patriarchy and Matriarchy”

This quote reminded one of my ENDOW study buddies of the Philippians verse that we read today at Mass.

In it, we hear about the very, frankly, feminine way that Christ considered his relationship to God.

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.

-Philippians 2: 6-8

It’s like the Chinese concept of Yin and Yang. Yin, the female principle, passively receiving, while Yang, the male principle, always grasping, always acting. Jesus, although he was in the form of God, didn’t consider that equality something to be grasped at. It was something He was, not something He did. Rather than great displays of power, he emptied Himself and sacrificed Himself out of His great love for us.

Rather than forcing Himself upon us, God gave Himself up for us. Rather than taking away our free-will, He has always sought a relationship with us. Loving relationship rather than force and always and everywhere the first to welcome new life.


Just like the family is an image of the Trinitarian God, God has traits that are both masculine and feminine. Or, perhaps better put, the best of what it means to be a man and the best of what it means to be a woman are both found in God.



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