Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20,30-3; Psalm 128:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Matthew 25:14-30)
Creating a Home Life that is Pleasing to the Lord
When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. (Proverbs 31:10)
In 1843, American author Nathaniel Hawthorne published a short story called “The Birthmark.” The story focuses on a beautiful woman, Georgiana, who has one flaw: a birthmark on her face. Her husband, Aylmer, is a scientist who wants Georgiana to be perfect. So he concocts a potion to remove the birthmark. Unsure but wanting to please her husband, Georgiana drinks the potion. The birthmark slowly fades, but as it does, so does Georgiana. In the end, she dies, leaving a flawless corpse.
How often do we act like Aylmer the scientist? How often do we nitpick at our spouses instead of praising them for all the ways they bring us joy, hold our families together, and support us in our lives of faith?
Today’s first reading describes the characteristics of an honorable wife. She brings her husband good, and she devotes herself untiringly to her family. She is diligent in running her household, she reaches out to the poor, she sacrifices much for her family, and most of all, she fears the Lord and follows his commands.
Scholars think that readings like this one were used as models to teach young Jewish women, like the Virgin Mary. It’s no wonder why! This description of an industrious, prayerful woman has much to teach us—men and women alike—about how to arrange our days. It depicts a home life that is wholesome and fruitful. It depicts a home where spouses honor each other and where children learn the values of faith, hard work, and mutual respect.
Of course, no home is as flawless as the home depicted in this reading. We are, after all, fallible human beings! But that doesn’t mean we cannot all aspire to this perfect ideal. Just remember Aylmer: be sure not to kill each other in the process!
“Holy Mary, Mother of God, help me to follow your example in everything I do.”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission. The Word Among Us Mass Edition contains all the Mass readings and prayers, and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)
Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
The first reading describes the virtues of a “worthy wife.” How would you summarize them? Why do you think “her value is far beyond pearls”?
The last virtue of a “worthy wife” in the first reading is one who “ fears the Lord.” The responsorial psalm picks up on this theme as well: “Blessed are those who fear the Lord.” What is the meaning of this virtue, and why is it so important in living our lives as Christians?
The second reading is the conclusion of St. Paul’s discussion of the Second Coming of Christ (see also 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). He tells us that we “are not in darkness” but “are children of the day and children of the light.” What do these words mean to you? When it comes to the Second Coming, St. Paul also tells us we need to “stay alert and sober.” What steps do you need to take to be more ready for the Second Coming of Christ?
In the Gospel parable, the servant who buried his master’s talent said he did it “out of fear.” In what way is the servant’s fear different than the fear of the Lord mentioned in the first reading and the responsorial psalm? Why do you think the servant was so harshly punished?
The Gospel parable also reminds us of the importance of using the talents God has given us to build his kingdom and glorify him. How important is it to you to hear the following words from the reading when you meet the Lord in Heaven? “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come share your master’s joy.” What do you believe are some of the “small matters” in your life that require more faithfulness?
The meditation, which is on the first reading’s description of the characteristics of an honorable wife, also challenges us with this question: “How often do we nitpick at our spouses instead of praising them for all the ways they bring us joy, hold our families together, and support us in our lives of faith?” How would you answer this question? What actions can you take to make the nitpicking less and the praising more so that your home would be one “where spouses honor each other and where children learn the values of faith, hard work, and mutual respect”?
Take some time now to ask our Blessed Mother to pray for us to be more like her in our relationships within our families. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.