Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
(Ruth 1:1.3-6.14b-66.22; Matthew 22:34-40)
In the Book of Ruth there are two heroines. Ruth is valiant for standing with her mother-in-law who loses both husband and children. As a foreigner without children, her chances of having a family are probably better if she seeks a husband among her own people. When Naomi suggests this option, she shows herself to be selfless and wise. Perhaps because she is this kind of person, Ruth wants to stay with her and make Naomi’s God her God.
What makes Naomi this way? The question invites speculation. It may very possibly be that Naomi embodies God’s covenant with Israel. She has learned hesed, i.e., steadfast love, from the God of Abraham. She seeks first not her own welfare but that of others and is happy when the needs of those around her are met.
For us Christians the story of Ruth and Naomi is the beginning of the immediate preparation for Christ. He will show us God’s love in greater ways than seen in the Hebrew Scriptures. Hopefully by taking his love to heart we are becoming the kind of persons that Naomi is. We too, after all, want to care for others well and by such care to attract others to God.