Saint Rose of Lima, Virgin
Ruth 1:1, 3-6, 14-16, 22;Psalm 146:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40
“But Ruth stayed with her.” (Ruth 1:14)
From almost the time they can talk, children start to negotiate. “If I eat my dinner, will I get dessert? If I clean my room, can I go to the park?” The trend doesn’t stop there, however. As they grow up, enter the job market, and go into business, the question remains, “What do I get?”
But look at today’s readings. Ruth’s commitment to Naomi and Jesus’ command to love God and neighbor are not about what we get or even what we feel. In fact, Jesus’ model for relationships turns that idea on its head, and the question becomes, “What can I give?”
Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law are not always the best of friends. Add racial and religious differences to the mix, and it can become even more complicated! But in this long-ago and faraway place, Ruth made a choice that exemplifies the committed love that Jesus describes in the Gospel reading. Ruth left her family, her homeland, and even her faith behind to commit herself to the care of someone who had just suffered the loss of her husband and both her sons.
Later in this story, we will see how Ruth’s decision to stay with her friend transformed Naomi’s bitterness to rejoicing. Ruth caught the attention of Boaz, and it was only a matter of time before Naomi was holding her grandson in her lap. In Jewish law, this is even more significant, since it meant the continuation of her husband’s name and his line. And that name and line are vital to Israel’s history: Ruth had the honor of becoming great-grandmother to King David!
At his inaugural Mass, Pope Francis said that looking upon every man and woman “with tenderness and love is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds.” This is what Ruth did for Naomi, and it is what God is inviting us to do as well. Every time we express love or kindness or even a little compassion, we spark hope in another person. So today, make a special effort to look at the people around you with love. Your choices can change history in ways you might never know or imagine.
“Lord, teach me to love all of the people you put around me with all my heart.”~WAU