Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
(Ephesians 5:21-33; Luke 13: 18-21)
No New Testament passage is more difficult for many people today than the first reading. A wife having to submit to her husband offends contemporary sensibility which sees absolute equality between the sexes. In order to avoid the difficulty some modern translations of the passage use a less grating word than “submit.”
In a couple of ways abuses of masculine power will be avoided. As much as the text obligates wives to submit to their husbands, it commands husbands to love their wives. That is, they should treat their wives with all possible care which implies pleasing them whenever possible. Also, it is a given that a woman does not have to comply with a husband’s dictate that is sinful. For example, the wife will not have to remain at home should the husband becomes violent.
Difficulties arise, of course, when husband and wife have differing opinions. She would like to paint the family room pink, but he prefers a soft green. Or he wants to leave a significant amount of their estate to charity, but she thinks their children will need the full inheritance. The directive in Ephesians does not prohibit discussion of problems or even final disagreement over resolutions. It does, however, mandate -- for unity’s sake and to demonstrate the Church’s subordination to Christ -- that she allow him ultimate determination of the matter.