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Ephesians 5 is one of the most important passages in the Bible, especially for married couples. So why isn't it preached in its entirety? For the same reason Pilate condemned Jesus: fear of the crowds.
The truncated version normally read on Tuesday of the 30th week in Ordinary Time reads:
Brothers and sisters: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the Church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the Church, because we are members of his Body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church. In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband. (Eph. 5:25–30, 33)
While easy for us to hear, the truncated Ephesians 5 would have been shocking to the pagans at Ephesus at the time of its writing. Women were treated as property and inferior. The concept of a man sacrificing for and loving a woman as his own flesh and blood would have been a completely alien idea. But the full text of Ephesians 5 has a surprise for us moderns, too.
The shortened version of the reading is missing this part:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the Church, he himself the savior of the Body. As the Church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. (Eph. 5:21–24)
In the similar manner that the full text of Ephesians 5 shocked the crowds in ancient times, it is no more palatable to today's society, which insists that women and men are not just equals but the same in every way. The idea of a husband’s headship is unpopular and even considered offensive to modern ears. The full text detonates the false femininity put forward by the secular world that the hierarchy has imbibed for 50 years, so in their liturgical guidelines they leave themselves a back door to avoid having to teach hard truths.
This passage on the duties of wives cannot be read in isolation of the passage that details the duties of husbands, and vice versa. Many of the pagans of yore accepted this hard teaching. If preached strongly and sincerely from the pulpit, many of the pagans of today will accept this teaching, too.
Watch the full episode of "The Download—True Femininity."