Memorial of St. Pius X, pope
(Ruth 1:1.3-6.14b-66.22; Matthew 22:34-40)
At the beginning of the twentieth century revolutionary intellectual discoveries were beckoning radical changes in Catholic theology. Darwin had proposed the evolution of species, Freud was reinterpreting psychology, and Einstein was developing his theories of relativity. Some Catholic theologians began to question the eternal human destiny. Pope St. Pius X had to respond. He was stricter than necessary, but his decrees against “Modernism” spared the Church aberrant theological thinking. More than that, however, Pius X showed himself a genuine pastor by promoting reception of the sacraments by people who unnecessarily thought themselves unworthy. His faithfulness to Catholic tradition can be seen as a parallel to Ruth’s faithfulness in the first reading today.
When Ruth married her Israelite husband, she accepted the Lord as her God. Coming to trust in Him, how could she return to the gods of her own ancestors when her husband dies? Despite her mother-in-law’s releasing her from filial responsibility, Ruth decides that she will be faithful to her mother-in-law as well as the Lord.
Faithfulness or loyalty impels us to fulfill the commitments that we have made. It enables us to focus on the good of what we have rather allow our hearts to incessantly search for something other. In an individualistic age faithfulness sets us on a course beyond independence and selfishness.