Monday, March 21, 2011

Esther: A Historical Tribute to Women Leaders of Faith

This morning I was going to simply discuss another quote by Saint Patrick, but after reading from my Lenten prayer book, I thought a story suited the day better.  Many people have issues with the Catholic Church and maybe other churches as well on being predominately led by men.  Yes, our priest is a man, but the rest of the church has women galore leading our flock.  Many of us females are Eucharistic Ministers while others lead in religious education, the Cursillo movement, music ministry, Readers, and the list can go on and on.  The Bible also has many women working as leaders to not only serve their people but also to save them.
In the days of the Old Testament, women did not have a high standing in most of society.  King Xerxes of Persia a pagan ruled over his wife.  Though she had prestige over other women, she had none over her husband.  Merely on the refusal of attending one of his feasts, he deposed and banished her from his kingdom.  She had no way of fighting this and fled.
The next wife he took was a Jewish woman named Esther though he had no love of the Jewish people.  In fact, one of his members of court convinced him to put to death all of the Jews living in Persia.  Esther was stuck in a very bad position.  She couldn’t watch her people and close relatives die at the hands of her husband; yet, if she spoke up to him, he surely would kill her.  Esther took her dilemma to the Lord.  He stood by her as she interrupted her husband to speak on behalf of the Jewish people.  The king didn’t go through with the mass murder.  She saved her people.  Today is the last day of the two-day Jewish feast in honor of Esther and her courage.
Esther didn’t lead her people from Egypt like Moses.  She didn’t lead her people in a synagogue.  I will never become a priest.  Though she and I can’t play the “big” roles in our faith, we can still play an integral part in the development of our community.  We ladies have a lot to offer with our faith in our families, Bible study groups, and in our parishes.  How are you leading?  Oh, and guys, just because this isn’t about you, step up and take action.  We all have a part to play in our journey to holiness.
Blessing to you all.

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