Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
(Ephesians 5:21-33; Luke 13:18-21)
Betty and her husband lived in a Texas city fifty years ago. It was still a time when most women did not work outside the home, and Betty was no exception here. But she had social interests that brought her in contact with the poor. She began to advocate publicly for needy children. She asked for government support for programs like Head Start. Her husbands’ friends saw such social schemes as communist. They told him that his wife she should stay at home. But he told them that he believed his wife was right. The community should assist poor families meet the needs of their children.
Betty’s husband was motivated by a deep love for his life. He did not come to favor community social assistance on his own. It was his love for his wife that made him see its justice. No doubt he took seriously today’s first reading. Husbands have to love their wives wholeheartedly. True love requires careful attention to what the other believes. It calls forth patience to both understand her truth and question her inconsistencies. It also elicits sacrifice so that she might flourish in her goodness.
Today’s passage from Ephesians has been dismissed as culturally conditioned. Even St. John Paul II said that love excludes any kind of servile subjection. But it contains a message as critical as a hurricane warning. Husband and wife must love one another unreservedly. If they do not, they will not only fail their families but also their Lord. As the Letter makes clear, their relationship is to reflect Christ’s love for the Church.