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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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The Complementary Role of Husband and Wife

A major source of discussion these days is the notion of a husband’s headship. Largely because of the sexual revolution, many take serious exception to it. However, I suspect that it is largely misunderstood. While isolated verses would seem to place all the gravity with the husband, the Catholic “contextual” approach would weigh it with references to the role and value of the wife. There is equality between the spouses and yet this should not be interpreted in any egalitarian manner. Each spouse has his or her complementary role to play. Notice in the life of the Holy Family, Joseph is understood as their great defender. And yet, it is Mary who is focused upon as the parent at the Presentation in the Temple. Similarly, when the boy Jesus is found in the Temple, the recorded conversation is between Jesus and Mary. Joseph is the foster father of Christ. He is entrusted with his family’s care. But respecting Mary’s motherhood and her deep faith, he steps back and allows her to do the talking. This does not destroy his headship. Instead, he had a good enough head to appreciate Mary’s strength, gifts and calling.

As a boy my family always respected my father as the head of the home. Daddy would work hard, cash his check and give mother all the money to pay the bills. She would take out two dollars and put it back into his wallet saying, “A man should always have money in his wallet.” She did so many things that he found difficult. They worked together. They lived out a real partnership. At the same time, my mother always gave my father the deepest respect. We were a poor family but my dear father worked from 5:30 AM to 6:00 PM six days a week so that we could have a roof over our heads and food on the table. Mother was a stay-at-home Mom, but she worked just as hard or harder in caring for the home and seven children. She would have been the first to say that Daddy was the head of our family; but by the same token, mother was the heart of our home. Which is more important, the head or the heart? Take away either one, and a body dies.

St. Paul speaks about the headship of the husband and father but also insists that they be subject to one another as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:21). There is a profound unity between the husband and wife going back to Genesis. The two become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Jesus will also stress this unity (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:7-9). It signifies a definite spiritual bond or connection between the spouses. Given its ecclesial significance, Christ raises this union to the level of a sacrament.

Ephesians 5: 21-33

Colossians 3:18–21

Titus 2:3-8

1 Peter 3:1–7