By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ PROVERBS 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31 FIRST READING
(“The woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”)
- When one finds a worthy wife, what is her value far beyond? Proverbs 31:10
- What does a worthy wife’s husband entrust to her, and what kind of a prize does he have? Proverbs 31:11
- What is the married man busy doing, and what does this mean? 1 Corinthians 7:33
- How should the wives be toward their husbands, and who is the head of the wife? Ephesians 5:23-24
- How should a husband love his wife? Ephesians 5:33
- What does a worthy wife bring her husband? Proverbs 31:12
- What does she obtain, make, and do with her hands? Proverbs 31:13 31:19
- To whom does she reach out her hands and extend her arms? Proverbs 31:20
- What is deceptive and fleeting, and who is to be praised? Proverbs 31:30
- Of what is the fear of the Lord the beginning, and who greatly delights in his commands? Psalm 111:10, Psalm 112:1
- What is she given, and what praises her at the city gates? Proverbs 31:31
Personal – If you are a wife, what gives you value in your relationship with your husband? If you are a husband, how do you show love to your wife? To all children, young and old, how can you help a husband and wife by sharing what you have learned in this lesson?
THIRD DAY READ 1 THESSALONIANS 5:1-6 SECOND READING
(“…let us not be asleep like the rest, but awake and sober.”)
- What do we not need to write you, and how is the day of the Lord coming? 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2
- Who knows the day or hour of the Lord’s coming? Matthew 24:36
- Just when people are saying “Peace and security,” what will fall on them? What will it be like, and will there be any escape? 1 Thessalonians 5:3
- What will the coming of the Son of Man repeat? Matthew 24:37-42
- What are we not in, that the day should find us off guard and like a thief? 1 Thessalonians 5:4
- In whom is there no darkness? 1 John 1:5
- Who is the man who claims to be in the light but is still in the dark? 1 John 2:9
- Of what are all of us children? 1 Thessalonians 5:5
- What should we not be, but what two things should we be? 1 Thessalonians 5:6
- What is another reason for staying sober and alert? 1 Peter 5:8
Personal – If the Lord Jesus were to come right at this moment, what would you change in yourself if you had the time?
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 25:14-30 GOSPEL
(“Come, share your master’s joy.”)
- What did the man going on a journey hand over to his servants, and to what was it in accordance? Matthew 25:14-15
- What did the disciples do, and to what was it in accordance? Acts 11:29
- What did the man disburse to the three servants before going away? Matthew 25:15
- What did the two men do who received the larger amounts, and what did the one who received the smaller amount do? Matthew 25:16-18
- After a long absence, the master came home. What did he do, and what did the servants who have received the five thousand and the two thousand say and do? Matt 25:20-23
- What was their master’s response, what three things did he say about his servants, and of what did he put them in charge? Matthew 25:21-23
- To what kind of people must we hand on what we have heard? 2 Timothy 2:2
- What is it like to depend on a faithless man? Proverbs 25:19
- In what do the first two servants share? Matthew 25:21, 23
- How may we have Jesus’ joy? John 15:9-11
- What did the man who received the thousand say about his master, and what did he do out of fear? Matthew 25:24-25
- What did his master say to him, and what did he have done with him? Matthew 25:26-30
- What casts out fear, and with what does fear have to do? 1 John 4:18
- In what should we not grow, and whom should we imitate? Hebrews 6:12
Personal – In the measure of faith that God has granted you, share how it has grown in the past six months. Have you been sharing it with those around you? Which of the servants do you see as similar to you?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 128:1-5
(“Happy are you who fear the Lord.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 128:1-5.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
PROVERBS 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
Today’s reading is a somewhat unusual reading in the sense that it is a testimony of praise to the ideal wife. This is rather rare in the Old Testament because in the culture of that time women played a minor role in public, civil or religious life. The real power in today’s message is in the power and praise of a wise and faithful wife.
We see in this reading a woman who is faithful first to God, then to her husband, and finally to her children. She is in perfect order as we are told in Scripture (1 Cor. 11:3). Today’s reading gives tremendous encouragement to the Christian mothers of all ages. The ideal woman of today’s Scripture is still the ideal wife and mother of today’s real-life world. Much of our society has rejected the sacred role of wife and mother, and as a result, we have tremendous destruction in the role and place of the family.
An ideal wife is a woman of strong faith, character, and great compassion. Many people think that the ideal woman in the Bible was shy, servile, and completely domestic. This is not so. The ideal woman is one who puts God first in her life and has been blessed with many gifts and talents. Her abilities, intelligence, strength, and integrity do not come from her amazing achievements, but as a result of her reverence of God.
In our society, where physical appearances count for so much, it may surprise us to realize that a woman’s appearance is never mentioned. Her beauty comes entirely from her character. We are assaulted by television, movies, magazines, and books that a woman has to look like a beauty queen in order to be accepted. Today’s reading encourages a woman to be all that she can be. These qualities when coupled with fear of the Lord, lead to enjoyment, success, honor, and worth.
1 THESSALONIANS 5:1-6
Efforts to determine the date of Christ’s return were foolish then and they are foolish today. We hear different people claiming to know when the Lord will be coming back, and some even describe the time, place, and the action that will accompany the return. Do not be mislead by anyone who claims to know.
We have been told in today’s reading that no one knows, and that even the believers will be surprised when it happens. Paul tells us that the Lord will return suddenly and unexpectedly. We are told by Paul to be ready. We should plan our lives as if we were going to live on earth forever and live our lives as if this were the last day.
Suppose Jesus were to return today. How would he find you living your life? Are you ready to meet him and say, “Lord, I have decided to follow you and I am ready to go with you?” The day of the Lord is a future time when God intervenes directly in world affairs. The day of the Lord will include both punishment and blessing. Christ will judge sin and set up his eternal kingdom. We who believe in God are children of the light and we do not have to be afraid of that moment of judgment. We have the light of the Gospel – the illumination of the true faith.
If we continue to live and practice our faith in that light, the coming of death will not be in the darkness. We shall spiritually be prepared for it. We are called to keep awake and be sober. This means being prepared by living our Christian faith every day. You still have time to choose Christ, or the world, to be the center of your life. If Jesus came today, what would you wish you had changed? Then change it now!
In today’s Gospel we see that the master divided the money among his servants according to their abilities. No one received more or less than he could handle. If he failed, it could not be because he was overwhelmed. Failure could come only from laziness or hatred toward the master. God gives us time, abilities, and other resources, and he expects us to invest wisely until he returns. We are responsible for using well what God has given us, and we will be held accountable.
The real issue is not how much we have, but what we do with what we have. Jesus is going to return, and for us to serve God does not mean that we have to quit our jobs. It does mean that we have to diligently use our time, talents, and treasure to serve God completely in whatever we do. For some people, it may mean changing professions. An example would be someone who is in a career that participates in abortion. Another is someone who works in the media where pornography is a common product. For most, it means doing our daily work in a manner that gives reverence to God.
The last man in today’s story was thinking of himself only, by playing it safe and protecting himself from his hard task master. In the end he was judged for his self-centeredness. We need to really heed the message of this last part of today’s Gospel. We must not make excuses to avoid what God has called us to do. We are caretakers, not owners. When we ignore or abuse what we are given, then we are rebellious and sinful. We might do well to remember that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).
This week’s first reading reveals that real beauty is in the character. The second reading shows that we must live a life of preparedness. The Gospel tells us that God rewards faithfulness.
This week, point out and praise the character of your “ideal” wife or mother. Be specific and let her know how you feel about her internal beauty. Take time out to talk with your wife, take her out of the house. Bring her a special gift (flowers, candy, etc.). Let her experience your love for her by being there for her. Don’t make jokes about her (age, weight, etc.) and don’t criticize her in public. God will reward your loyalty, your courtesy, and your loving your very special “ideal” wife. Visit your mother as she grows older, whether she is in her own home or in a convalescent home. She will experience being loved more by your presence than by your presents.