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.
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./)
Jesus said, "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."
Marriage, the most basic and vital of human institutions, mirrors the mystery of Christ's love for the church.
Our faith and hope are not entirely heaven centred but give us added motivation to live our daily lives in the best way. Ephesians suggests that marriage and family love can be inspired by the presence of Jesus. Each faithful, fruitful partnership is like a mirror, reflecting Jesus' love for the church. Ideally, married partners should love as Christ loves the church. He gave himself up for her so that she could flourish.
Asking wives to be submissive to their husbands should be seen as an outdated inheritance from times past. This same section of Ephesians says how slaves must obey their masters (Eph 6:5). Nobody quotes this today in favour of slavery, which was part of the warped culture of the past.
To cooperate with the loving plan of God, we must cherish the hidden mustard seed of divine grace in our lives. Like the woman who so kneads the yeast into the dough that it rises to fresh-baked bread, we must try to nurture ourselves and others , so that we can all enjoy the freedom and dignity of the children of God.
These two images are about surprising potential. Each of them compares something very small to what it can become. A mustard seed is tiny but grows into a tree where birds can nest. A tiny piece of leaven transforms a whole basin of flour into rising dough.
The kingdom of God is like that, where very small things can grow to become very significant. Even our smallest acts of kindness can have a good effec beyond what we might imagine. Small acts of service can create an opening for the grace of God. It's mistaken to think that unless our efforts are big and impressive they don't really count for much. It is everyday kindness, small initiatives, things may go unnoticed, that contribute to building up the kingdom of God.