Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
The Antiques Roadshow has been one of the most popular programs on public television over the past twenty-five years. The show follows experts as they go around the country appraising the antiques of ordinary people. It is a delight to watch the surprise on their faces when they learn that something they purchased for a few dollars at a yard sale is really worth thousands. It makes us wonder what treasures we may have stored in our attics or basements.
In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus tells the story of three men who are entrusted with a treasure by their king. Though the king is gone only a short time, two of the men are able to double their money by investing it. Why were they so successful? First, they recognized the value of the treasure and knew that the best use of it was to invest it. Second, they understood that the treasure belonged to the king and not to them, and that they would have to give it back. They were not willing to let the treasure gather dust, unlike the third man who buried his talent in the ground out of fear.
Jesus’ meaning could not be clearer. God has entrusted a treasure to us, and He expects us to make good use of it. During this week, we should examine our consciences to determine what that treasure is and how we can multiply it for the glory of God. Today’s first reading, however, suggests to us a treasure which all of us have and which we can so often take for granted, like valuable antiques gathering dust in our attics — our family.
The first reading from the book of Proverbs is a poem praising a good wife whose “value is beyond pearls.” Pearls were among the scarcest and most valuable items in the ancient world. In essence, the poem is saying that there is nothing more valuable than a good wife. By extension, our families are one of the most valuable treasures entrusted to us by God.
It is often said that charity begins at home. The home is a school where children are taught to love and serve God. Whether we are parents or children, the home is the place where we learn to become holy. In fact, families which eat at least one meal together daily, pray, and go to Mass together, have practically a zero percent divorce rate. Our homes must be places where God is honored if our marriages are to be strong and our children are to grow in virtue. And that means they must be more than just the place where we eat and sleep in between our jobs, our classes, and our other activities. Our homes must be the place where we pray, where we come to love and understand each other, and where we practice kindness and generosity.
Our family is among the treasures God has given us for our enjoyment and for his glory. The way a valuable antique can get lost in the clutter of our attics, our loved ones can get overlooked because of the hectic pace of modern life. If we are wondering what special gifts God has given us and how we should be investing our time and energy, perhaps we have to look no further than our own homes.
We thank you, Father, for the gift of Jesus, your Son
who came to our earth and lived in a simple home.
We have a greater appreciation of the value and dignity
of the human family because he loved and was loved
within its shelter.
Bless us this day;
may we grow in love for each other in our family
and so give thanks to you who are the maker of all human families
and our abiding peace.
(Michael Buckley, The Catholic Prayer Book)