I heard this story as told by Mr. Hubrey Zealand, pricipal of St. Joseph’s Primary School, Uitenhage. A teacher was fond of telling stories to his learners. He had told them many stories about dwarfs. We all know how funny and interesting dwarfs’ stories can be. One day, the teacher was asking the learners what they would like to become when they grow up. They had to answer by saying ‘When I grow up, I would like to become….’ Your guess is as good as mine as some wanted to be doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. One of them gave a very interesting answer by saying ‘When I grow up, I would like to become a dwarf.’

Today’s first reading is one of the readings that people often react negatively to. It is from Ephesians 5 from verse 21 to 33, where St. Paul tells us to be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. To wives, he said ‘be jubject to your husbands’. Eishhhh!!! Most women get angry the first time they hear this, especially in today’s world where people have more rights than responsibilities. This passage seems to promote male domination. Our generation is full of women who compete with the men to be the head of the family, and the result of this is first a growing irresponsibility in men and secondly, sexual confusion, and thirdly, increase in divorce rate.

But Father, are you saying women should become servants to their husbands and that men can just treat them the way they like? If my mother is a woman, then I can never say that. There is this saying that whatever a man can do, a woman can even do it better. We all know that a man cannot fall pregnant or breastfeed children. This means that God had clearly made a distinction between a man and a woman. The major role of a man in the house is to provide, to protect, to discipline, etc. The major role of the woman is to nurture, care, support, etc. This does not mean that a woman cannot also provide, protect, discipline, etc nor does it ean the man does not nurture, care, support, etc. But in a world where the woman takes over the duties of a man by providing, protecting, etc, she puts the man out of his job. If the roof of the house is leaking, the woman may be the one to notice it, but it is the man who should go up there and see what is happening. If anyone should fall and break his back, it should be the man.

Codependency always makes someone irresponsible. When a woman is playing the role of the man, what will the man be doing? He will be drinking, become abusive and he will become anything but a man. Children growing up in this situation will not know the difference between a man and a woman and they will find it difficult to identify themselves as male or female. This is especially found in male children. At the end, the woman will discover how irresponsible the man had become and she will decide that her children are better off without their father. I am not saying this is the only reason why men are becoming irresponsible, why there is sexual confussion and why the rate of divorce is growing. But it is a reason that cannot be overlooked. Let the men be men and women be women and when the duty of the man is not done, let the man be blamed for it. Just because the man has neglected his duties doesnt mean the woman should take responsibility for it.

A good family is a foretaste of heaven. Families should be heavens on earth. If so, then the requirements for heaven should be the requirements for marriage. No proud person can enter heaven, just as no humble person can go to hell. Therefore, if a family is going to be heaven on earth, then no proud person should get married. The humbler we become, the happier will be our marriages and families. Satan was chased out of heaven because he said ‘I will not serve’. A woman who gets married with the same mentality cannot be happily married. At least, the family will not be heaven on earth. It doesnt mean the man should just sit and play the boss. It means that the man should take a greater responsibility in providing for and protecting his family.

This is why Jesus tells us in the gospel of today that the kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds, but when sown, grows into a big tree. He also compared the kingdom of God to a leaven (yeast), which is very small, but when mixed with flour, makes the bread to rise. In other words, heaven is not for big people, but for small people. So also is marriage. A marriage which will be heaven on earth is not for people who are proud and want to dominate one another and control one another. A good marriage is between a humble man and a humble woman. Even if at the time of marriage they are not so humble, the marriage should become a training ground for humility. It is pride that makes it difficult for anyone to say ‘I am sorry!’, and it is pride that makes it difficult to say ‘I forgive you!’. Pride also makes it hard for us to say ‘Thank you!’. These are the kind of words any married person should be familiar with. At the end, the marriage would have helped them to get to heaven. If a man knows what his responsibilities are in the home, he will not have the time to be irresponsible. A young girl who knows her responsibilities  should say, ‘When I grow up, I would like to become a dwarf, and I would like to be married to a dwarf.’



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