Rita Houlihan preaches for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary time, focusing her reflection on the "woman of worth" in the reading from Proverbs.
Our children need to know this Woman of Worth...The Proverb is an acrostic with the first letter of each couplet a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Scholars speculate it was used to teach girls to read and that women gathered in circles to learn business would have listened to it while some others formed networks of weavers. We need to bring this Woman of Worth with all her talents and joys to our children today.
Regretting that much of the chapter is missing from the Lectionary reading, Rita fills in with some important details:
In the missing verses we learn that she clothes her family in crimson so they "do not fear the cold", she assesses her estate and buys choice land, she plants a vineyard and feeds her family; she spins wool and flax and makes sashes to sell in the market. She opens her mouth and the Torah, the law of kindness comes forth. Her children and her husband rise up to praise her. Some see the husband leaving all the work to his capable wife - but we can also see her commitment to use all of her gifts to care for her family, herself and her community. Reading the missing verses I found a sense of delight pouring off the pages as one gift after another emerged.
To conclude she invites us to further reading: "To get to know the full Woman of Worth treat yourself to reading and sharing all of Proverbs 31."