Women “feel” the message
Andrea Tornielli, Vita di Gesù [Life of Jesus], with commentary by Pope Francis, Piemme
What struck me most about the book was the choice of passages from the Gospels, many dedicated to women. Martha first, but also many lesser-known figures. The Samaritan woman at the well, the repudiated woman with her son, Lazarus’ sisters, Jairus’ wife (alone in her grief), the widow, the prostitute, the adulterer.
The historical period dictated very restrictive standards to the woman and even today things have unfortunately not changed much, but Jesus accepts them, exalts them. The woman recognizes the revolutionary scope of the Nazarene’s message, she “feels” it. The wives of the apostles “feel” the high task to which they are called, while they often doubt, do not understand, not even in front of the most striking signs. The woman feels and recognizes the source of life in Jesus because she too is the source of life.
God chose a woman’s womb. He fell in love with the life-giving capacity of a mother.
Joseph accepts, Mary feels.
The compassion that Jesus shows for all female figures is the compassion that man should feel for life. God, Jesus and woman give life, man too often abuses it.
Even in the Resurrection Jesus chooses the woman, he appears to them and they do not doubt, they do not argue, they recognise, they accept, they “feel” life, rebirth. Just as they feel it in their bodies every month in the cycle of preparation for a new creature.
Pilate’s wife knew, “felt”. The prostitute who washed his feet with her tears “felt”. Women “felt” rebirth in love. Even today, the woman still feels and struggles for life but too often loses it in love, out of love and because of the man’s inability to “feel”.
Perhaps to understand Jesus and what he did, it would be enough to understand the love of a woman...
Fabrizio De André described it better than me: “Inhuman is still the love of one who rants without rancour...”
Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Vatican media, presented “Life of Jesus”, his latest book, at the Opera prison house (Milan), the largest of the Italian prisons that houses about 1,300 inmates. Promoters of the meeting were Arnoldo Mosca Mondadori, founder of the Casa dello Spirito e delle Arti, and the prison director Silvio Di Gregorio. In dialogue with the author were the Archbishop of Milan Mario Delpini, the singer-songwriter Roberto Vecchioni, three inmates on stage, Claudio, Vincenzo and Carlo, and others present in the Opera theatre. Fifty copies of the book were handed out, available to all the inmates. One of them, Andrea Volonghi, who could not be present, read it and wrote a letter with his reflections. We published it above as we felt it is the right review for a magazine like Women Church World.