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Tuesday of the Thirtieth week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

Here it is! The statement pounced upon and promulgated by delegates of the Southern Baptist convention. Which, I may add, was vigorously criticized and modified by many other Baptists.

“Wives,” says St. Paul, “should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord because 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.” Y’all got that? Now go home and submit. But not until you’ve heard the rest.

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church. He gave himself up for her to make her holy … 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.”

Sounds pretty equal to me! Paul was more progressive than his times, you know. Society in the first century said wives should obey their husbands in everything and keep their mouths shut.

Paul reminds us of that in the first paragraph but greatly tempers it when he tells husbands to treat their wives as they would like themselves treated. Equality but not sameness. Partnership, the best of friends, love unlimited. Is that possible? Not unless husbands and wives give it a good try - for 50 years or so.

So, these readings in Ephesians and the Psalms tell us the way to live godly lives starts first with our love and respect for each other, especially in the ways we assume responsibility for others. We all fall short here, as children, as spouses, as neighbors, and as co-workers. But if we keep love and respect for others as our principle for living, even if we start small, in fact especially if we start small, our lives will grow into abundant blessings. a

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