Or, rather, one woman: Anna, the prophet.
Teresa Berger (Professor of Liturgical Studies at Yale Divinity) draws attention to the option created in the Roman Catholic lectionary to omit mention of Anna from Luke’s account of the “Presentation of the Lord,” the feast celebrated February 2. While the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is one of the oldest Christian feast days, its name, liturgy, and date has changed throughout the centuries:
What remained throughout all these changes was the Gospel reading for the feast day, namely Luke 2:21-40. “Remained throughout,” that is, unless one attends Mass today in a Roman Catholic community that chooses to follow a shorter option of this Gospel text, provided in the current Lectionary. This shorter form simply drops the Lukan account of the prophet Anna (Lk 2:36-38), thus rendering her presence at the presentation of Jesus in the temple “optional”. Without Anna, however, Luke’s careful pairing of men and women in the infancy narratives – Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna – is lost. Lost also is the emphatic presence of Spirit-inspired women in the infancy narratives: Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna are all depicted as giving prophetic voice to what God is doing. Last not least, Anna’s optional presence in liturgies on February 2 is doubly painful because Luke’s story itself already leaves this woman voiceless.
And if you do meander over there, there’s also a… lengthy… discussion of the phrase in the Nicene Creed which in the Roman Catholic liturgy is translated “He became man,” also initiated by Teresa Berger. The Greek and Latin wording is non-gender specific: “became human” rather than “became a male human.”
The difference does matter theologically–not because anyone is trying to deny that Jesus was male, but rather because a good deal of thinking about the Incarnation rests on Gregory of Nazianzus’ maxim that “what is not assumed is not saved.” In arguing against the idea that in the Incarnation, the Logos takes the place of the human rational soul in Christ (“Apollinarianism”), Gregory holds that it is the assuming of a complete humanity to the Logos that effects salvation–if Jesus didn’t have a human rational soul, then our rational souls are not saved. By this logic, if there is an essential, ontological male human nature that is fundamentally different from an essential, ontological female human nature–well, the Incarnation unites male human nature to the Second Person of the trinity… not female human nature. Meaning you’d need a second incarnation–a female incarnation–to save women. Granted, there are strands of radical feminist thought that would embrace this idea, but it’s not Christian orthodoxy.
So, the “and became human” is actually theologically significant from a deeply traditional perspective.