JERUSALEM – On the occasion of International Women’s Day which falls on March 8th, Nadine Bitar from the Catechetical Office of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, shares with us how people today can reflect on the important characteristics of some of the female figures in the Bible.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.”
While we celebrate International Women’s Day with the world, we also encourage the world to explore the importance of women in God’s salvation plan. One of the most remarkable elements we have in our biblical text is the strong female figures who have been among the main characters in God’s journey with humans. Even though many would think of men first when it comes to these strong figures, we must also know that there are several Godly women in the Bible who were and still are a source of inspiration, not only because of how they lived but also because of their unshakable faith. Those women showed us that they were worthy of God’s trust even in some of the toughest circumstances.
Be courageous like Esther!
Being a woman in our world now and especially a Middle Eastern woman from the Holy Land, we are expected to be an “Esther”. A strong, faithful and courageous woman who had seen the pain and suffering of her people; and had agreed to put her life at risk in order to save her people. Do not let anyone underestimate your powers; speak up against injustice and trust that the Lord will always be on your side. In a world filled with personal benefits, be an Esther and stand up for God’s truth and set the example of how a woman could serve and be a source of hope.
Be equal to a man like Priscilla!
In a world filled with men supremacy, be a “Priscilla”. The book of Acts tells us of this outstanding woman who was seen as equal to her husband Aquila. In fact, Priscilla was mentioned not only in the Book of Acts, but also in three of Paul’s letters. Be filled with the Spirit and influence the people around you. Be a Priscilla who was always there alongside her husband to teach and live out the Word of God. Have no fear when expressing your faith; set an example to the world how women are equal to men in the eyes of God and the Early Church. Open your heart to the Word of God and teach it to others with passion.
Be trustworthy like Phoebe!
In a world filled with people against women in ministry, be a “Phoebe”. Phoebe who was filled with the good news of the Gospels and did not keep it to herself. Be a Phoebe and have a role in your church; teach and serve. Be trustworthy to become a servant of God. Be a Phoebe in your interaction with the others, deliver the Word of God and encourage others to live out this Word. Be a Phoebe and do the unexpected; it was not easy nor okay for women to have a role in the early church. But we have Phoebe who gained the trust of the Apostle Paul! How cool is that!
Be faithful like Mary!
In a world that shames women, be a “Mary”. Mary the Mother of our Lord, one of the most admired female figures in the history of Christianity. Be a Mary when accepting God’s will in your life. Be a Mary to trust God; hear and obey His call. Be a Mary knowing that you are part of God’s plan of salvation. Be a Mary when everyone around you may shame you and humiliate you; be a woman of strong faith. Do everything in the name of God and keep all the Glory to the Great “I Am”. In a word that shames women, be a “Mary”. Be Mary Magdalene who was saved by our Lord Jesus from being a sinful woman to experiencing the Glory of His resurrection. Be a Mary and trust that God has better plans for you; plans that you do not expect. Be a Mary in a world that is in desperate need for faith, hope, love, and most importantly trusting in God. Be a Mary in your commitment to continue Jesus’ ministry on earth.
There are so many women mentioned in the Scriptures who have been as brave, faithful and courageous as men and maybe a bit more. All of these women have faced challenges and experienced fear and doubt but no matter how hard their situations get, they were able to overcome it with the help of God. Do not let anything or anyone pull you away from your faith and the things you like doing. Be courageous like Esther; be equal to a man like Priscilla, be trustworthy like Phoebe, and most importantly be faithful like Mary.
Happy International Women’s Day!