Abstract of the paper by Mary Cecilia Claparols,

In John 19:25, we find the “silent presence of women standing near the cross of Jesus,” a powerful testimony to the implications of discipleship using another language: the body. The Johannine Jesus: God’s Logos in the human body (sarx) manifests God’s living presence (doxa) among us. We experience God through our bodies which are always sexual. The body is a language of the divine. Today, the body, particularly women’s bodies have become a battlefield and a scapegoat for wounded consciousness. There is need to contemplate women’s body in a new way.

“The role of biblical science is to locate Mystery.” In this study, exegetical tools, the socio-historical study of Kathleen Corley on “The Role of Women During Death and Burial Rituals of Jesus’ Time,” and a feminist process further give the context of the women’s choice to publicly proclaim: “ I am one of them.” They challenge the known categories and the spoken language of their time. They unleashed a revelatory power despite the attempts to silence them.

Why is there a fear of those considered “weak? What is being suppressed in marginalizing and restricting women even through legislation? To“stand near the cross” is bodily to be in the locus where violence and pain take place, where deep suffering finds its voice. To stand is both resisting marginalization as well as giving testimony to the love experienced in Jesus: the discovered identity as “beloved,” loved “till the end.”

“Asian women’s self-understanding grows out of the brutal reality of the broken body.” To allow the broken body to articulate its longings, its discovered meanings and its own beauty, is to “stand near the cross.” Transformed they are ready to give their lives for their people: “even there God never left them.” Countless women in Asia live this discipleship and witness to this transcendence.

Mary Cecilia Claparols is Spiritual Director, on call at the East Asian Pastoral Institute for Spiritual accompaniment. She is also Formator, and consultant for Faith and Spirituality in Assumption College starting this year. She has a DUER (Diplome Universitaire pour les Etudes Religieuses) MA. Religious Education, Masters in Theological Studies (with concentration on Biblical and Christian Spirituality) and was admitted for D.Min in CTU for 2005-2006. She is involved in Buddhist-Christian Dialogue on Spirituality and Social Transformation.

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