A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Sunday, August 27, 2006


"This saying is hard; who can accept it?"

So say many of Christ's disciples in today's Gospel (John 6:60-69) and so say many Christians and others in the world today.

Sad to say, a choice will be made in some parishes this weekend to choose the short form of the second reading rather than the full selection (Ephesians 5:21-32) in order to avoid hearing any mention of submission or subordination.

The specious excuse usually offered is that more than half the congregation would be instantly and irretrievably alienated by the "Seven Words You Cannot Say among the PC" (Politically Correct):

Wives should be subordinate to their husbands...

Oh, no! "Fire and brimstone coming down.... Rivers and seas boiling.... Dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!"

Completely lost in this pandemonium - between the hypersensitive, the chauvinists, and the generally confused - is the fundamental point of the reading that was clearly stated just one verse before:

Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Men, women, husbands, wives, children, mothers, fathers, single people, childless people, laypeople, hierarchical people... whoever or whatever you are....

Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.

That is the bottom line of the reading.

That points also to the bottom line of the resistance to the reading (and indeed to most of the deposit of faith).

The modern world teaches us that submission and subordination are bad things: to be rejected in favor of "autonomy," "doing my own thing," "my feelings," "having a life," "my space," and all forms of narcissistic propaganda.

What the world is selling us, of course, is submission and subordination to whims and impulses.

What the world eventually leaves us with is "the dictatorship of relativism" and oftentimes outright totalitarianism as a "solution" to the chaos it has unleashed.

The submission that the world offers under the guise of "autonomy" is bound inextricably with conflict: conflict within oneself and conflict with others.

The submission of which St. Paul writes is bound inextricably with love: love of God and love of God's children (which includes love of one's true self).

Wives should be subordinate to their husbands
as to the Lord...

Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her....

The submission of which St. Paul writes can itself exist only with submission to the Lord.

Only in loving submission to the loving and infinite God of the Universe can we find true freedom: freedom from our limitations, freedom from the failures in our past, and freedom from the culture of selfishness that is all around us.

It is the same loving submission and the same choice as that of Joshua in today's first reading (from Joshua 24):

Decide today whom you will serve....

As for me and my household,
we will serve the LORD.

It is the same loving submission and the same choice as that of Simon Peter in today's Gospel:

Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced
that you are the Holy One of God.

We must rise above the dictatorship of whims that the world calls autonomy.

We must rise above the slavery of coordinated selfishness that the world falsely calls love.

We must love truly and be in submission to our loving God, so that we may more perfectly love and that we may be in loving and proper submission to one another.