Worthy Wife, Worthy Faith
(33rd Ordinary Sunday: Prov. 31:10-31; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Matthew 25:14-30)
The poem in praise of a worthy wife, eight verses in the Lectionary, is actually twenty-two verses long. Most of them describe her accomplishments.
But one verse stands out as different from the rest. Instead of saying what she does, it portrays who she is: “Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Here as in many other places in the Book of Proverbs, we find the foundation of a worthy life, on which everything else is built.
The foundation of our Christian identity is the gift of faith. When it is weak, it cannot support the other spiritual gifts God wants to grant us.
St. Paul tells us, “We are not of the night or of darkness.” But there are times, perhaps, when we are. Our Lady of Salette, appearing in light, comes to help us walk in the way of the Lord. She is a beacon of unfailing hope; she bears the image of Perfect Love on her breast.
In her discourse she addressed issues of faith, particularly our relationship with God; but she certainly did not exclude concern for the well-being of others, as she demonstrates by her tears.
One day the Apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith (Luke 17:5). We would do well to make the same prayer from time to time, for ourselves, our families and friends. Then we may grow in hope and especially in love—the greatest of the everlasting gifts—becoming more charitable and loving, harvesting what God has sown in us.
Or, to use the image of today’s parable, we will be empowered to be good and faithful servants even in small matters. Each according to our ability, and cooperating with divine grace, we will be able to capitalize on the talents confided to us and make a worthy return to the Master when he comes.
Questions are thus raised: Who am I as a believer, and how may I best place myself at the service of the Lord? Answers vary, but they have a common foundation: faith and hope and love, and abiding joy.
Today’s collect expresses this thought as follows: “It is full and lasting happiness to serve with constancy the author of all that is good.”
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.