I am writing to you, children,
because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.

I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men,
because you have conquered the Evil One.

I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,
because you are strong and the word of God remains in you,
and you have conquered the Evil One.
1 Jn 2:12-14

This morning as I clicked on the Catholic Bishops’s website to discover the Daily Readings, my eyes grew wider and my heart sank deeper as my eyes came across John’s words. Where are the women, I exclaimed.

One woman was waiting for me in the Gospel, however: Anna, the prophetess, a holy anchorite, the woman seer who recognizes the infant Jesus as the Messiah when his parents bring him to the temple.

I usually like John the Evangelist: women can be found all along his Gospel. He talks of the Samaritan woman. He has Mary ask Jesus to take care of the wine in Cana; he defends the adulterous woman. He resurrects Lazarus and has Martha tell him, ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into this world.’ In Bethany, Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with nard. At the time of Jesus’ death, three women are with him: his mother, his aunt, and Mary of Magdala. Finally, the first appearance of the Risen Christ is to Mary Magdalen in the garden.

Comes John’s First Letter and the lines mentioned above. Had the early Church fallen prey so soon to the Greek way of looking at life that this first letter must conform with its worldview?

Here are the words I wish John had also written:

I am writing to you, mothers,
because you have been at his side always.

I am writing to you, young women,
because you live His word and proclaim it.

I am writing to you, little girls,
because Godde finds you infinitely lovable.

As a woman reading the Bible, sometimes I need to fill in the blanks to reassure myself that indeed I exist, remembering that Jesus stands by my side as I struggle to stand up to feel seen and welcome.

Art: Maurice Denis, Holy Women at the Tomb, 1894

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