A good wife is a treasure given to you by God and a wise husband helps her flourish. When I was looking at the readings for this Sunday (the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time), at first I was confused by the selection. The first reading is from Proverbs 31 and the psalm is Psalm 128, which both concern the blessing of a good wife. But the second reading is from 1 Thessalonians, which is concerns the day of the Lord arriving like a thief in the night so we must be prepared, and the Gospel is Matthew 25’s parable of the three servants and talents. Why does the Church pair these readings?
But as I thought about it, I realized that the Holy Spirit is at least sending a message to husbands that our wives are that talent, that treasure entrusted to us whose “value is far beyond pearls” and who is “an unfailing prize.” She is a “fruitful vine” and your children are the fruit of that vine.
The Master has given to me a treasure in my wife, but not a treasure to be hoarded and hidden away. She is not just for me and my needs and wants. She has her own vocation given by God beyond wife and mother. Just as my primary vocation is husband and father and I also have a secondary vocation as a disciple who serves and evangelizes and spreads the Good News, so she too has that secondary vocation that can take many forms.
As that servant of the Master, I can’t “bury” her in the life of the home, but I have to serve her in helping her fulfill her potential. The reading from Proverbs 31 says the worthy wife isn’t just good at serving her family and their needs, but she also “reaches out her hands to the poor and extends her arms to the needy.” Her loving heart through love of Christ goes beyond her home to the world around her and her husband is commanded by the Lord to enable her, to lift her up, to encourage and support her in her mission in the same way that the good wife encourages and supports her husband in his mission.
And in the end, when that collaboration bears fruit–in a happy home full of children, but also in people who see the love of Christ and the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in you both–the Lord will say to us, “Well done, my good and faithful servant… Come, share your Master’s joy.”