We Long For A Life Of Intgrity
Thoughts on the First Readings -Joe Frankenfield
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
“It worked fine then; it wouldn’t now. Everything’s different. But we loved each other just as much as folks today.” That was how an 80 year old friend in my home parish ended a conversation that began with my asking her how she recalled her younger years as a mother and homemaker in the early 1900s.
Our society is much more flexible than past ones. We possess an amazing amount of power which we inject into life creating new opportunities all around. For the most part, we like it that way. Centuries may come when people will look back at us and wonder how we survived such chaos-like freedom. On the other hand, they may view ours as an era of increasingly enlightened humanity. Which view they’ll hold is hard to predict. The focal length of our social vision is shorter than we like to admit.
When we read Proverbs today, its depiction of one sex’s attributes appears applicable to both. It describes behaviors valuable not simply in a spouse but in the entire community.
The life of the Proverbial wife isn’t an extraordinary life. Hers is an ordinary life lived well. She gets up every morning and contributes what she has to offer to the best of her ability to give it. There’s an intentionality and integrity about her day that’s the hallmark of a life lived in God’s Spirit.
I once heard this passage read by a husband to his wife at the beginning of a Jewish Passover Seder. When he finished, every eye in the room was moist not just because we had witnessed an intimate act of love but because everyone longed to hear those same sentiments expressed of them – even if they couldn’t tell a distaff from a decaf. We all sense that God will say to those who live such a life, “You got it and you made a difference. Thank you.”