Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wives Should Be...

Here's what I saw when I opened my missal today...

Second Reading
Ephesians 5:21-32 or 5.2a, 25-32

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians

(included bracketed text for Long Form and text in parentheses for Short Form only)

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 the 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.] (Live in love, as Christ loved us.) 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, ht 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.

Obviously this is a controversial reading. These days the idea of submitting to anyone (even God's will) is not popular. Many women would rather be "empowered" and make every decision, neutering their husbands and ignoring God's plan for marriage.

I was thankful when the entire reading was read in our parish this morning. I would have been upset if they'd hacked it in two to appease a loud contingent that want to pick and choose the verses that fit their views, ignoring or labeling irrelevant the parts that they don't agree with. There's beauty in this verse if we can put aside our rebellious wishes and embrace God's will for our lives!

Did they read the entire reading at your parish? I'm curious as to how many churches decided to avoid the topic by rending the verse in two.


  1. We went to the Latin Mass this morning, so I'm not sure what our parish did. I understand what you mean, though. Read the whole thing and preach on it. If it's not preached, people won't believe it or live it.

  2. The entire reading was read at my parish today. Although the priest made more note of how men should love and respect their wives as Jesus loved the Church in his homily.
    I really think both points of this reading are equally important. Both the fact that wives should submit to their husband, but equally so that husbands should love their wives as their own bodies, as Christ loved the Church. I think both sexes struggle with this. Some women want the empowerment, while some men tend to neglect their role caring for their wives as they care for themselves.

    It is such an important part of the Bible, and I think today too many people don't listen.

  3. The entire piece was read during my church's mass. And Father Champeaux gave a wonderful homily on what this verse meant and how it refers to commitment of a husband and wife to each other. It was a really moving sermon!

  4. My parish read something else entirely, not even the short option of this passage... that's what I get for going to a liberal parish with a weird priest.
    But I actually go there to be suboridinate to my husband, I don't think he would be converting to the Church if it weren't for this wacko parish so I am more than happy to go!

  5. I just found your blog last week and have been catching up on some of your posts. I had just read your post on gender-neutral language this weekend, so when I saw the alternate reading in our missals on Sunday, your blog actually came to my mind! =)

    I belong to a parish of about 1,500 families and we are blessed with wonderful priests. I'm happy to say that not only did we hear the entire reading, but the assistant pastor who was celebrating the Mass gave one of the most beautiful homilies I've ever heard! I so wish I could share it with you, but I doubt I could do it justice - and I'm sure it's a bit long for your comment box! =) But I did just want to chime in and say that this beautiful reading WAS heard - and shared in a way that I know reached a lot of people!


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