What I found for my lection was Ephesians 5:21-32 (I copy the publicly available NIV translation as found on biblegateway.com, since the US Catholic Bishops do not allow copying of the New American Bible translation without their written permission):
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Then I read the Gospel lection.
The pericope chosen by the authors of the lectionary was this passage, also presented below in NIV translation, John 6:60-69:
60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[a] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Before you are tempted to lecture me about scriptural meaning, understand that I have read the Bible in its entirety. I've read and compared numerous translations of varying authority; I've studied ancient manuscripts on which the translations are based in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin; I've done numerous hermeneutical studies of various passages of scripture; and I've had over half a dozen graduate and doctoral level courses in scripture. I know my scripture. I've also known these particular passages for a long time.
But last night, reading these two readings in succession, I perceived a very clear hermeneutical slant on the part of the men who strung these passages together for the twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time.
The hermeneutical slant woven for a 21st century audience says, in no uncertain terms, that women are to submit to men; and if this "teaching" is too "hard," if it "offends," then not only do the offended not believe (in) Jesus, but they are Jesus' betrayers, the ones who will turn their backs, no longer follow him, and (by implication) shout for his crucifixion.
Let's pull back the threadbare veil of meaning that the fashioners of the lectionary have laid on today's readings so we can be quite clear: women who reject submission to men in 2012, whether as wives to husbands or Catholic women to male clerics, are against Christ. Anathema sit.
Now, allow me to pull back my veil and be even clearer: I will no longer stand by in the quiet shadows as the sin of sexism is thrust again and again against the women of the Roman Catholic Church.
The claim that women are or should in any way be inferior to men is evil. It is this claim that perpetuates the abuse of women by men in every imaginable rape, from rape of the body to rape of legitimate calls to ordained ministry.
This must end NOW.
Roman Catholic clergy, all of you who homilized on anything other than the horrific sexism of today's string of readings, you should be ashamed.
I challenge every ordained member of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, from the lowliest deacon to the bishop of Rome, to examine his conscience, to make a public apology for the glut of sexism in which the hierarchy has so long engaged, and to make a public call for women to be restored to their rightful place of holy dignity--side by side with men, rather than in hierarchical relation to them.
I suppose I owe the authors of the lectionary a thank-you, however. Were it not for today's readings, I might never have had the shattering revelation that my relationship with the divine cannot be contained within my Roman Catholic faith. My faith is bigger, more embracing, more inclusive, and more perceptive than the religious sphere the Roman Catholic hierarchy attempts to dictate.
So thank you, lectionary creators. Thank you for reminding me that a whole world of religious experience and holy encounters with the divine exist beyond your meager vision. Thank you for showing me your golden calf in all its splendor, that I might be moved to break the tablets in my hands and ascend the mountain again to hear God's word anew.