Rejection, itself, is well-known to human beings. Everyone experiences it in some measure.
Some of the rejections of our everyday lives are insignificant, a bit a humorous but nonetheless annoying.
I remember once trying to give blood. I fainted in the process. The Red Cross worker told me I was nice to offer but need not bother again. Rejection is, at least, deflating.
Some rejections are harder to take:
· Rejection in love because there’s no mutuality
· Rejection by potential schools or employers that dash our career hopes
· Rejection from receiving communion during the sessions of Vatican II, as experienced by the women observers present.
We could multiply examples endlessly from various perspectives.
Here’s the point to hang on to when we experience rejection: it is not an absolute.
Rather, it can become the beginning of a transformation.
Jesus was rejected by that portion of his people who had an addiction for the way things were. They placed Law over Love, questioned the mercy and love Jesus showed others, chose Barabbas over Jesus when both stood before Pilate. Yet the rejection of Jesus by the naysayers among His people was not the last word. Jesus was raised up. Rejection and death gave way to transformation and life.
The followers of Jesus – including you and me – are gifted with these same possibility:
Rejection -> Transformation - > New life.
Pope Francis calls for “a more incisive female presence in the church,” and in The Joy of the Gospel, says this about himself: “How I long to find the right words to stir up enthusiasm for a new chapter of evangelization full of fervor, joy, generosity, courage, boundless love and attraction! (n.261) ” I’m with him. So are the women of the Church, given the chance. So much to do, and we are willing. Yet, some Catholic women in our times experience the Church as a home where we are not quite at home. Our gifts and very call to serve the faith community with a fullness of ministry are rejected and denied. Shall we stay or shall we go? My own hope is that we stay and continue to defy the unequivocal no from various parts of the Church as if it comes from Jesus. No is yesterday’s word, grounded in yesterday’s culture. expectations and lifestyle. “Come and see” is of Jesus. I invite our whole Church to reject any claims that limit the potential given by God to women as well as men and, instead, be transformed into a new people of God, where, finally,” there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female but all are one in Christ. (Galatians 3.27-28)”