30th Week, Tuesday, Oct 27

Ephesians 5:21-33 / Luke 13:18-21

Paul talks about marital love: Love and respect each other.


In his book If Today You Hear His Voice, Albert Cylwicki tells the moving story of ballerina Margot Fonteyn and her lawyer husband, Roberto Arias. Back in 1964, Roberto was paralyzed by a gunshot wound. For two years he was hospitalized 40 miles outside the city of London. Every day for those two years Margot spent her mornings at her husband’s side and her afternoons rehearsing in the theater.

Medical attention and Margot’s loving care enabled Roberto to make an amazing recovery. He is still partially paralyzed, but able to practice law once again.


How loving are we toward a spouse who is going through a deep personal trial? “My real life is my husband. This is the true reality. The ballet is a different kind of reality, a transitory thing. - Margot Fonteyn


Women 's lib took offence at this passage and attacked Paul as a male chauvinist. Wrongly! Paul here enhances the dignity of women. There is nothing offensive in it. The words subject, submit, subordinate in the philosophy of St Paul only mean - to take the rightful place, the place it is meant to take by its very nature. Every part has a function, a purpose created in it by God. 'Sub' - under - only means: put every part under the purpose for which it is meant. Accept the due place. Paul has two images of the church, the well-organized body of Christ and the bride of Christ. The first stresses more on unity, the second makes Christ and his Church two different entities. The Church has its holiness from Christ, and it calls constantly for his love. This also takes up the Old Testament relationship of Yahweh with his people, which in Hosea, (2.19), Isaiah (54.5) and Ezekiel (16.87) is described as marital love. This image finds its fullest development in the New Testament, where the Church is the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11,2; Ephesians 5.25); believers are to be wedded to Christ the slain lamb (Apocalypse 10.7-9)} and the life to come, the new Jerusalem, is likened to a bride.  


All things on this earth, living or otherwise, follow and adhere to the law of nature. It is this law of nature that gives order and even beauty to creation. But if this law of nature is not followed, then the result would be chaos and confusion. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. If it does otherwise and rises in whichever direction it wants or decides to stop whenever it wishes, then there will be total disorder. Similarly, if mountains decide to move and trees decide to uproot and move about, we dare not think how to live in this world any more.


Hence when Jesus talked about the kingdom of God and used the imagery of a mustard seed and yeast, He is also saying all creation submits to God's law of nature and with that there is order and beauty in creation. That is also a remind for us, who are endowed with intellect and will, that when we follow the laws of life that God had given us then there will also be order and beauty in our lives. Yet, by our freewill and freedom of choice, we determine whether there will be order or disorder, beauty or tragedy in our lives.


Hence the first line of the 1st reading tells us what should be our rule of life - Give way to one another in obedience to Christ. Yes, it is in obedience to Christ and His law of love that we humble ourselves and let others go before and ahead of us and even above us. That is the law of life; that is the law of love; let us follow it and there will be order and beauty in our lives.


In spite of Israel, the kingdom of God will succeed. Two parables show its irresistible power. The mustard seed grows into a mighty tree. This small pilgrim group on the way to Jerusalem will become the Church which gathers the whole world. The 12 with Simon will be the greatest organization on earth. The U.N.O. has only nations as members. The Church is for all people. In every country churches offer the same worship to God. The charity of the Church has a mighty army of men and women under the banner of the Cross to show God’s love to mankind like the leaven. Christ’s message has changed men. Like leaven it was given from the outside, but worked from within. Human selfishness became self-sacrificing love, self-interest changed into dedication. Pride gave way to humility, sensuality to purity. This leaven has worked throughout the centuries. It produced heroes, saints and martyrs. Christianity is the greatest revolution still. It sees no end.


Let us pray:
Lord God, source and model of all love, you cause the paths of life of men and women to cross and to discover one another as partners in life. May their love be genuine and creative and strong enough to survive the differences and trials that are part of life. Let it be patient, understanding, forgiving and lasting, as is the love that you have shown us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.