Our Relationships Matter

First Reading: Ephesians 6:1-9

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Honor your father and mother.
This is the first commandment with a promise,
that it may go well with you
and that you may have a long life on earth.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger,
but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.

Slaves, be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling,
in sincerity of heart, as to Christ,
not only when being watched, as currying favor,
but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,
willingly serving the Lord and not men,
knowing that each will be requited from the Lord
for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
Masters, act in the same way towards them, and stop bullying,
knowing that both they and you have a Master in heaven
and that with him there is no partiality.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 145:10-11, 12-13AB, 13CD-14

R. (13c) The Lord is faithful in all his words.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The Lord is faithful in all his words.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. The Lord is faithful in all his words.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. The Lord is faithful in all his words.

Gospel: Luke 13:22-30

Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.’
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”



First of all, can someone please pass the memo on the Ephesians reading to my children? Honor and obey me, boys, so that you may live a long life. Ahem.Don’t cross mama or else.

But then I keep reading, and there’s a commandment for me too: don’t provoke my children to anger, but bring them up in the way of the Lord. (Which might be less about my rhetoric and more about, you know, embodying the actual fruit of the Spirit.) It seems God is serious about the importance of our relationships: even going so far as to address that of the slave/master, not condoning slavery but instructing both parties how to best relate within that established institution of the time.

Why this insistency on the minutiae of human relationships? Doesn’t God concern Himself more with our life of prayer and fasting, or serving the poor? Many things may seem holier or more noble than focusing on our day to day interpersonal encounters, but few things actually testify of the Gospel to the world like healthy relationships of mutual respect.

When I was considering converting to Catholicism, I had many good reasons for not doing it. No one in my family was Catholic, and I had never even had a close Catholic friend. But the cord of my heart was being tugged nonetheless, and one of the strongest pulls was the social teaching of the Catholic Church. In it I found a pro-life stance that didn’t begin and end with abortion but extended into euthanasia, capital punishment, contraception, and war policy. But above and beyond the headlined hot topics, I found a theology that regarded every single human being with dignity and inherent worth.

Since I’m now fully in communion with the Church, the Church has impacted and changed the way I see the world. I work harder at seeing the person, instead of the disagreement or my own frustration. I stopped instructing my children to “be nice” and started reminding them to “show respect.” And I’ve come to see the need for kindness and mutual submission in the close relationships of my daily life.

Every interaction we have, whether with our children, roommate, or coworker, is a chance to proclaim to another human being that they have been made in the image of a loving God, and that they have inestimable worth. Find your opportunity today.

photo credit

Shannon Evans is a Protestant missionary turned Catholic convert who lived to tell the tale. An adoptive and biological mom of three boys, she enjoys hosing mud off children, scrubbing sticky furniture, and rushing to the ER to have nails extracted from small intestines. You can find out more about her here.

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