Elizabeth A. Johnson, CSJ, is the Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University in New York City. Former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, the oldest and largest society of theologians in the world, she writes about the mystery of God, Christ, ecology, and issues of justice for women. Her books, including She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse and Women, Earth, and Creator Spirit, have been translated into 13 languages.
The blessing women find in their relationship with Jesus is not simply private and spiritual, though it is certainly that. But it also affects their life in public and social domains, inspiring the struggle for liberation from structures of domination in every dimension of life.
There is a powerful scene in the Gospels that shows in a flash how life-giving the encounter between Jesus and women can be. As Luke tells the story: Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath, and a woman came in who had been crippled by a spirit for 18 years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she stood up straight and began to praise God. (Lk 13:10-13)