Jesus’ call to “Do this in memory of me”, is re-lived by women all over the world as they give off their bodies in the Eucharistic ritual of birthing and nurturing their young. Dying to one’s self so that another may have life in a process that never ends. Being poured out, almost drained to the last drop, for another.
As they preside at life’s Eucharistic banquet, women break the bread of their lives to feed the hungry of the world – in kitchens, community centers, classrooms, pavements, refugee camps. Theirs is a daily enactment of the Last Supper as they continue to provide in the face of hunger, illiteracy, discrimination and exploitation.
In a celebration that uses Christ’s body and blood to symbolize deep spiritual truths, women also perceive an affirmation of the sacredness of their own bodies and blood that symbolize the intermingling of the human and the Divine in the Eucharistic cup.
Tragically, while it is women who set the tables of the world and spiritualise the meal, at the Eucharistic table of the institutional Church, women are banned form performing these roles. And despite the Divine seed having nestled in a female form, women are denied participation in the radical embodiment of the Divine in human flesh, evident in the exclusively male representation of Christ. Ironically, instead of silencing women, the prohibition of women’s ordination to priestly ministry has provoked women to discover their own priesthood and so uncover the paucity of patriarchal priesthood. Further, it has pushed the understanding of the sacraments to deeper levels challenging the Church to transform the ways in which it lives out the Christian belief that Christ lives among us in the flesh and blood of the Church.
Astrid Lobo Gajiwala
, India, holds a Ph.D in Medicine and is the head of the Tissue Bank in Tata Memorial Hospital. She is a founding member of the Satyashodhak, a Mumbai based group of Christian feminists and is a member of the CBCI Commission for Women, Mumbai Women's Desk Core Team.. As a writer Astrid has published articles in the journal In God’s Image, Daughters of Sarah, Magnificat, Women's Link, The Month, Vidyajyoti, Jnanadeep among others; Books; Body, Bread Blood; Community of Men and Women and a couple of others.