30Oct 30 October. Tuesday, Week 30

1st Reading: Ephesians (5:21-33)

Love between spouses mirrors Christ’s love for the church

[My friends],
Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Saviour. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.)

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendour, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind, yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.

Resp. Psalm (Ps 128)

R.: Happy are those who revere the Lord

O blessed are those who fear the Lord
and walk in his ways!
By the labour of your hands you shall eat.
You will be happy and prosper. (R./)

Your wife like a fruitful vine
in the heart of your house;
your children like shoots of the olive
around your table. (R./)

Indeed thus shall be blessed
the man who fears the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion
all the days of your life! (R./)

Gospel: Luke (13:18-21)

The reign of God is like a mustard seed… or yeast

Jesus said to his disciples, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

BIBLE

Married holiness

Deep in our human nature is planted a seed that is meant to grow to complete human fulfilment. There is an inner “yeast” to transform us as in the dough that is baked into fresh bread, the staff of life. Marriage, one of the most basic, elementary of human institutions, mirrors the mystery of Christ’s love for the church.

Christian hope cannot be limited on the prospect of heaven but must also attend to the details of human life. Ephesians suggests that marriage, family and marital love should be inspired by the example the spiritual presence of Jesus. A faithful and fruitful marriage is a powerful image of Jesus’ love for the church. All genuine love, whether within marriage or friendship, produces holiness. What is said of Christ’s love for the church is applied to marriage, in Ephesians: “He gave himself up for her.” The idea that wives should be submissive to their husbands is now outdated and should be seen as just a historical-cultural echo from the past. This same section of Ephesians also speaks of the obligation of slaves to obey their masters (Eph 6:5)…. and no one would quote this today to support slavery, that was taken as normal in those days.

If we want to belong to the reign of God, we need to discern the hidden mustard seed of divine possibility in our lives. In this way we can resemble the woman who so kneads the yeast into the dough that not only does her own life rise to its full potential, but other people’s lives benefit also.


Two parables, one message

The two parables in today’s gospel, one involving a man and the other involving a woman—have a similar focus. Both draw a contrast between something very small and the very significant impact it makes. A tiny mustard seed produces a tree which becomes a home for the birds of the air. A tiny amout of leaven transforms a significant amount of flour. In each case, the kingdom of God is like that.

In the realm of God what is very small can turn out to be very significant. Even our smallest acts of kindness can have an impact for good beyond anything we might imagine. Small initiatives taken in the service of the Lord can create an opening for the Lord to work powerfully. We can be tempted to think that unless some event within the church is big and impressive in the eyes of the world it does not count for much. Yet, the parables suggest that small actions, tiny initiatives, often unnoticed by others, can promote the kingdom of God.

One Response

  1. STANLEY KOBIA

    Wow! I am have been inspired a great deal by the beautiful concept of small beginnings but monumental impact. This is actually the result of cooperation between man (in the generic sense, who is by the way small in every way, and the grace of God. When we allow God to work in us we grow and become big! Big! Big! And useful.


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