September 23 Epistle Reading

Ephesians 5:33 – 6:9

33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. 5 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

St. John Chrysostom in his Homily XXI on Ephesians VI said:

“The Apostle has guarded the matter by saying, ‘in the Lord,’ that is, wherever you will not be offending against God. So that if the father should be a [non-Christian] Gentile or a heretic, we ought no longer to obey, because the command is not then ‘in the Lord.’ But why does he say, ‘Which is the first commandment’? …He does not speak of it then as first in rank, but in respect of the promise. For upon those others there is no associated reward; they are enacted with reference to evil things. In these others, where there is the practice of good, there is a further promise held out …In the same way as he has shown the husband to be the cause of the wife’s obedience …so, I say, here he also refers the implementation to him, saying, ‘But bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord.’ You see that where there are spiritual ties, the natural ties will follow…”

“Never deem it an unnecessary thing that he should be a diligent hearer of the divine Scriptures. For there the first thing he hears will be this, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ so this makes the way for you. Never say, this is the business of monks… Make him a Christian. For it is of all things necessary for laymen to be acquainted with the lessons derived from the heathen tales, where they are made acquainted with those heroes so admired among them, slaves of their passions, and cowards with regard to death; as for example Achilles, when he relents, when he dies for his concubine, when another gets drunk, and many other things of the sort. He therefore requires remedies against these things …Let us give them a pattern.”

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