Jesus seems to have admired women who persevered. I think he learned it from his mother. At Cana, he said, “Woman, my time is not yet come.” You know she gave him The Look—the “I didn’t raise you to be a jerk” look. Then, while he was probably still within earshot, she told the servants to do his bidding.
Another woman suffered from hemorrhages for years and was considered
unclean; Jesus was her last hope. She pushed through the crowds
around him just to touch his garment, and was instantly healed.
Remember the parable of the unjust judge and the widow who
persevered in her quest for justice? She got it, finally. And in
Matthew’s gospel, the Canaanite woman persevered in asking
Jesus to heal her possessed daughter, even when those around him
say, “Send her away—she’s not one of us, and she’s
Sometimes these women asked for healing or justice for themselves, sometimes for others. They would have recognized one another as kindred spirit—people with such deep faith, they would not take no for an answer.
Whom do we know like that today? One answer comes readily to mind: women religious. People like Mary McKillop, the first Australian saint, who founded the Josephite Sisters; one bishop excommunicated her, another exiled her, but eventually the church recognized what everyone else had no trouble seeing: her deep faith and commitment to the poor. People like Mother Teresa or Sr. Joan Chittister. People like the four women who spoke up for the poor in El Salvador, and were raped and murdered as a result.
These days, the prophetic voices come more often from women. May they continue to persevere.
Guys, listen up. Your mothers didn’t raise you to be jerks.