Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31;Psalm 128:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Matthew 25:14-30
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.”~WAU