August 4. Racism and sexism. Angela referred the group to a discussion Fr Brian had held on discrimination with some of the catechists at one of their formation sessions.  As they were quite a mixed cultural parish it was interesting to hear their opinions which he had also shared in his Sunday homily.   “Deep down inside ourselves how do we look at men and women of different races and cultures?  Do we respect a German woman differently from a Nigerian woman?   Do we take a Chinese man or a Zulu more seriously?   What is our attitude towards people but also towards them as “gendered” people? I think that in the last twenty years or so we have become more accepting and tolerant of one another but do you think it applies to the sexes too.  Jesus lived in a racist society, where Canaanites were not acceptable to the Jews and for a Canaanite woman to approach him for her sick daughter might even have been shocking.

 Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”  The Canaanite woman replied, “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.  Then Jesus answered her, “O woman great is your faith! Let it be done as you desire.”  Matt 15:21-28. 

Pope Francis: The equal dignity of men and women makes us rejoice to see old forms of discrimination disappear and within families there is a growing reciprocity.  AL: 54.  It is important that catechesis and preaching should speak more directly about the social meaning of existence, the fraternal dimension of spirituality, our conviction of the inalienable dignity of each person and our reasons for loving and accepting all our brothers and sisters.  FT 86