HOMILY THEME: The Power of Love and Respect.

BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu



_“As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” *Ephesians 5:24-25.*_

In St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians today, we get to see two vital ingredients in marriage; Love and Respect. St. Paul encourages wives in particular to respect their husbands and husbands to love their wives. The truth is that love and respect are not two separate entities entirely; just as love is not complete without respect, respect is nothing without love.

The beauty of love and respect is that not only are they relevant for the sustenance of marriage, they are the two elements capable of sustaining any friendship. A friend who does not see anything of value in you, who constantly criticises, insults and condemns you is more likely to bring out the worst in you and bring you down. The kind of words we use on our spouses determines the direction of their lives.

Are you the wife or the husband who never stops insulting her husband or his wife? Do you suppose that by the continuous use of such words, he or she would suddenly change? Experience has shown that our spouses become the very names we call them so no matter how high your anger may be, continue to call your spouse exactly what you want to see in them. No matter how bad a person may be, praise, affirmation and encouragement tend to bring out the best in the person.

There is no need trying to be right always. Sometimes there is great wisdom in being the first to apologize and ask for forgiveness even if doing so hurts your pride. Do not think of the present moment only, think of what that little misunderstanding could amount to when allowed to fester on. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a grain of mustard seed which starts very small but soon grows to become a thousand times bigger than the seed.

Quarrels and fights in marriage are like grains of mustard seed. When these fights are not forgiven, they become like pieces of debris which we fail to take off. They pile up in our memories little by little and before you know it, they affect the quality of our love for our spouse. The person we once trusted with all our heart becomes someone else in our eyes. Once that trust is gone, little mistakes become magnified, we become blind to the good aspects of our spouse and what was once love becomes hate.

Love is a fire, if it is not properly fed with fuel, it quenches. Rather than simply trying to win that fight or that argument, focus more on pouring fuel in the fire of your love. One lesson the story of “Beauty and the Beast” teaches us is that love brings out the best in people. Your spouse may just be a beast who has been cast under a spell but he or she needs you (Beauty) to break that spell by the power of love. Love your spouse not because they deserve it but because you are Beauty.

Every time, you consciously do something to hurt your spouse deliberately, it always backfires, remember you are no longer two people but one person. Treat your spouse with all the love and respect you can muster as you would treat your own leg or hand which is wounded. You never argue or fight with your own body. You don’t cut of a hand or leg because it is injured, you treat it; your spouse is actually an extension of your body not a different person.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, we commit our marriages and families to you. Restore love and respect to those who now lack these qualities. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of the 30th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Ephesians 5:21-33, Psalm 128:1-5 and Luke 13:18-21)

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