In the second reading today from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he speaks about relationships, particularly the relationships of husbands and wives. The key line is the first: “Brothers and sisters: Be subordinate to one another.” The Webster’s definition of subordinate is: “inferior to or placed below another in rank, power or importance.” If St. Paul initiates this section with “be subordinate to one another” he wants to emphasize the importance of humility and allowing someone else to be first. Jesus life is our example, for “though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found in human appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).
In our modern, United States culture, this mentality can be difficult because we’re often taught to “look out for number one” (ourselves). Perhaps this is why marriage seems to be on the decline. Marriage and the marriage vows are a beautiful reminder of what couples are called to, and actually what we are all called to in relationship with one another. Just as Jesus put us first and gave himself for us, married couples and everyone in relationship is called to be subordinate, to place the other above self and mirror Jesus Christ.
Today we have our annual Mission Appeal. Fr. Anselm Nwakuna is speaking on behalf of the diocese of Owerri in Nigeria. In the church we are all connected and in relationship, and our blessings need to be shared with the larger Church, in this case the diocese of Owerri, Nigeria. May the relationship we enjoy with Christ and with other members of His body in the church, inspire our generosity. Peace.