We must be very careful that the real point of today’s first reading is not washed away in genuine concerns over what one can and cannot say about the responsibilities of spouses. This is not, in fact, a recipe for the perfect wife, but an illustration, from one age, of the virtue of fully employing the talents God gives us. Some things are timeless, such as holding out a hand to the poor, while other talents shift and change. The point is that all of us are gifted in varying ways and degrees: none of us should begrudge anyone else their talents, for fear that we overlook our own. We work wisely and well, looking forward to the master’s return, when we can hand over to him not just what he gave us, but also the fruits that our labours have gained.