The Christian Household
- Reading I: Ephesians 6:1-9
- Resp. Psalm: Psalm 145:10-11,13-14
- Gospel Reading: Luke 13;22-30
After Paul admonishes husbands and wives to love one another in the way that Christ loves his Church, he moves on to parent-children and master-slave relationships. These are all relationships within the same household (husbands and wives who are also the parents of their children and are masters — dominus dominaque — of their slaves. In all these relationships, Paul sets before them the requirements of the Law but with a reference to Christ. Thus, for children, Paul recalls the fourth commandment. He however adds an admonition to Fathers since it is the paterfamilias who takes care of the affairs of the children.
The slaves are admonished with a reference to Christ. Is it perhaps because the slaves are not Jewish-Christians like their masters? The exhortation to slave owners recalls the same words that Paul uses to Philemon with regards to Onesimus: there is an appeal to the fact that now both masters and slaves are under one Lord.
The responsorial psalm is about the majesty of God’s kingdom (Psalm 145). The theme fits well with the first reading in that the household that Paul asks the Ephesians to build is a household under the reign of God.
The Message of the Synod Fathers was directed especially to households who are invited to once more listen to the Word of God. Here is what the Synod Fathers say to them:
The family, enclosed between the domestic walls with its joys and sufferings, is a fundamental space where the word of God is to be allowed to enter. The Bible is full of small and great family stories, and the Psalmist depicts with liveliness the serene picture of a father sitting at the table, surrounded by his wife, like a fruitful vine, and by his children, "shoots of an olive tree" (Ps 128). In the same way, Christianity itself, from its origins, celebrated the liturgy in the daily home life, just as Israel entrusted the Passover celebration to the family (cf. Exodus 12:21-27). The spreading of the word of God is passed on through the generations so that parents become "the first preachers of the faith" (LG 11). Once more the Psalmist recalled that: "What we have heard and know, what our ancestors have told us, we shall not conceal from their descendants, but will tell to a generation still to come: the praises of the Lord, his power, the wonderful deeds he has done … They should be sure to tell their own children" (Psalm 78:3-4.6).
Therefore, every home should have its own Bible and safeguard it in a visible and dignified way, to read it and to pray with it, while, at the same time, the family should propose forms and models of a prayerful, catechetical and didactic education on how to use the Scriptures, so that "young men and women, old people and children together" (Psalm 148:12) may hear, understand, glorify and live the word of God. In particular, the new generations, children and youth, should be the ones receiving an appropriate and specific pedagogy that leads them to experience the fascination of the figure of Christ, opening the door of their mind and their heart, as well as through the encounter with and authentic witness of adults, the positive influence of friends and the great company of the ecclesial community. (The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church, no. 12)
- Read an explanation of the Gospel reading here: Those Who Will Be Saved.
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