Proverbs 31: 10-13, 19-29, 30-311 Thessalonians 5: 1-6Matthew 25: 14-15, 19-21
Yesterday afternoon the wedding of Katherine O’Meara and William Gerken was celebrated here at St. Mel. In preparation for the ceremony, Kate and Bill selected, among others, the very same passage from the Book of Proverbs which we have just heard, the description of the “worthy wife.” In the context of a wedding ceremony, it is a very appropriate passage. A suggestion that I make, however, in reflecting on this passage, is that what is said of the wife is equally to be applied to the husband. Both spouses are called upon to be “worthy.” Each is to recognize and to share with one another the unfailing prize of self.
The insight offered by the author of these words is not to be limited to an application of marriage. A much deeper understanding is to be found, a much larger context is intended. Like much of the prophetic and wisdom teaching of the Old Testament, the intimate relationship that is to exist between God and God’s people, between God and ourselves, is to be viewed in terms of the ideal marriage: a relationship that is committed, faithful, enduring and permanent.
In the context of what we have heard today from this Scriptural passage, it is God who can be understood as the husband, whose heart, so to speak, has been entrusted to the people. It is God’s people, it is us, who are to be seen in the terms used to describe the “worthy wife.” All that is said about the worthy wife is to be said about us. We are the ones who are to proclaim to the world the value of the committed, faithful enduring relationship that exists between God and ourselves.
It is with these considerations in mind that we can hear the first part of the parable spoken by Jesus. God is the owner who has entrusted to each of us the vast wealth of life itself. All of us, like the servant in the story, are expected by the owner, our loving God, to have the will and the creativity to take what has been entrusted to us in our lives and invest this possession in such a way that its value and worth increase significantly through our efforts.
What Jesus proclaimed, what he taught, and what we profess to be our belief is Good News, a Gospel that is not static. It is genuinely dynamic. This message, this teaching about God and our relationship with God and with one another, is to be transformative. It is to be effective. It is to impact our lives and the lives of others through us. This faith is to be lived out
in specific ways, as the example of the worthy wife illustrates. It is to display loving hands caring for the needs of the home and reaching out to those outside the home who are in need. This faith is to be lived out by us as we are, as children of the light, children of the day. We do not live in fear of the unknown, but with a conviction that knows and lives in the presence of the Lord with us.
The dynamic life of a married couple is a sacrament. Their love for one another is to be a revelation of the love of God for us. So too are we, as Church, as the living Body of Christ in our world, a sacrament. Each of us is to be, as part of this Body of Christ, a vibrant revelation in our daily lives of the active and loving presence of our good and gracious God.