|2. Note from Father Roberts
Earlier this month I had the chance to celebrate a nuptial Mass at Sacred Heart in Indianapolis. The building is an absolute gem with soaring arches, more than life-sized statues everywhere and stained glass windows in mint condition. The bride that day was beautiful, the groom handsome, knights were serving the Mass and many guests were present.
The second reading introduced an apparent blemish into an otherwise immaculate ceremony. When the reader began the reading with the words, "be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ," I braced myself for what was coming next. "Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord." As I surveyed the congregation, it was impossible not to notice the grimaces, uneasy shifting in pews and sarcastic glances exchanged. These externals manifested what was going through the minds of some of those present, "It is because of this kind of thing that I only go to Mass for holidays, weddings and funerals."
Then I rose to proclaim the Gospel in which Jesus condemns divorce. "Even better," I said to myself, "now the women and the divorced people in the congregation feel alienated."
I decided to address their concerns directly. "Many of us here feel as if the second reading and Gospel at today's Mass are relics from a backward age. In point of fact, these two readings give witness to how Christianity changed the world for the better." From there, I went on to explain that in Jesus' time a man's arbitrary power over his wife, which included the right to divorce her for almost any reason, reduced women to little more than slaves of their husbands. When Saint Paul held Christ's sacrificial love for the Church up as the model for the love of a husband for a wife, he did so in order to raise up the status of women, not lower it.
In the pre-Christian Greco-Roman world a man in his early thirties typically married a girl in her early teens. This age disparity made sense for a vision of marriage wherein the wife was basically a servant who bore legal heirs for her husband. Christians, however, preferred that married couples were more or less the same age because they saw both parties as partners called to image Christ's relationship with the Church through mutual submission. Far from being backward when it came to the status of women, early Christianity was revolutionary.
Sometimes when God and even others speak to us we hear what they say but fail to understand what they mean. If we have chip on our shoulder we can even interpret what is said in a way that is exactly the opposite of the intent of the speaker! This week of STRONG encourages us to reflect on authority in the family, which is all about learning to listen, first to God, then to each other.
|3. Family Activity
A quick discussion: What is my role in life? What does that look like on a daily basis? Who are the rightful authorities in my life?
|4. Songs for downloading
Lead Me - Sanctus Real, Download it
I want to be just like you - Philips, Craig & Dean, Download it
Selecting to download will redirect you to an iTunes preview page for the artist and album the song is from. You can select to purchase the song or entire album for your family.