This past Sunday, the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, we read the feminists’ favorite passage from Ephesians 5 (the full version).
Brothers and sisters:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife
just as Christ is head of the church,
he himself the savior of the body.
As the church is subordinate to Christ,
so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything [see my note below].
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.
To satisfy my curiosity, I have some questions for the Catholics who went to church this last Sunday. 1. Was the short or long version of the above read? 2. Did your homilist talk about it? 3. If yes, what did he say? 4. Did the homilist make light of the reading?
The homilist at my mass explicitly avoided talking about it. At the beginning of the homily he said, “I’m not even going to touch the second [epistle] reading.” Some of the congregation chuckled. He went on.
He said the readings talked about creeds. The Israelites after Moses’ death had to reaffirm their faith in God as the Apostles had to reaffirm their faith in Jesus. Many of the children of Israel left and served other gods and some of Jesus’ disciples left him.
Joshua, Moses’ successor, said, “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” While Peter said, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We [the Apostles] have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
By leaving out the second reading from Ephesians, it left out a deep dimension of God’s Love. In Jesus’ future act on the cross (alluded to in the Gospel reading today and explicitly the last few weeks), He gave himself up for His bride the Church to make Her holy. In a similar way, the married bridegroom gives himself up.
Should we, the Church, Holy Bride of Christ, be offended that we are to serve the Bridegroom? He gave himself, his life for us. Does that diminish our freedom or worth or relationships? Does that mean that Christ is our master and we are His slaves? He is our Brother and Friend.
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. –John 15:13-15
A bride is not a slave; she is the first friend of her bridegroom. We are to be "subordinate to one another under Christ." Friends do things for each other out of Love. We should try to do everything for Love [note: everything].
This is a very personal topic since I try as hard as I can to base my marriage on Ephesians 5, and my wife and I had it read at our wedding (by a dear, married sister in Christ). (I also referred to it in my post on the homosexual Bible study.)
What do you think?