Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 23, 2015
R. (9a) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Reading 2 Eph 5:21-32
Alleluia Jn 6:63c, 68c
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 6:60-69
Homily - Deacon Dave McGhee
Usually when a preacher prepares his homily, he takes the theme (or the main message) from the Gospel reading of the Sunday. That’s usually what I do too, but today I am choosing the second reading, St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. It makes some people very uncomfortable and the message St. Paul is trying to convey is often misunderstood. One line in particular is the problem when he wrote, “Wives should be subordinate to their husbands …. “
This one line has earned St. Paul the reputation for being a woman hater. I’ve heard comments: No wonder he was never married! What woman would marry a man with that attitude? But Paul goes on to say, “Husbands love your wives.”
Many people, especially women object to the statement: “Wives should be subordinate to their husbands …” When St. Paul says this, he is also implying, “Husbands also should be subordinate to their wives. When he goes on to say, “Husbands, love your wives,” he is also implying, “Wives also love your husbands.” Love is a two-way street. All human experience tells us that.
Perhaps we need to consider the word “subordinate.” What does it mean? Well, as it is used here it does not mean slavery; and it certainly does not mean something perverted, like bondage. To be subordinate here means both husband and wife defer to each other out of consideration and love.
How are we really expected put this into practice? In the book of Genesis, God refers to husband and wife in these words, “… and the two shall become one.” Not that one conquers or devours the other, but that the two get together and become one, one new unity.
To do this, two people must freely submit to each other. I believe mutual submission happens when both husband and wife unselfishly give of themselves and allow that person inside his or her life.