Naomi took the boy, cradled him against her breast, and cared for him. The neighbor women joined the celebration: “A son has been born to Naomi!” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. Ruth 4:16-17
This short book of Ruth, sandwiched between the Book of Judges and the historical books of First and Second Samuel, sets the stage for what is to come, the beginning of Israel’s kings. We got a teaser of that in the conclusion of Chapter 4, knowing that Boaz would be the grandfather of the future king, David.
The book of Ruth is a good example of how we see God guiding us in everyday events. There is no dramatic intervention of God, like we have seen in the Book of Judges and in Exodus, where God manifested himself in a concrete way. The Book of Ruth tells of our reality, God being present in the ordinary events of everyday life. God is manifested in more subtle ways, through the characters’ actions, their love for one another, and it is here that His love is revealed in the story.
God is constantly revealing His glory in our every day events; but often we are not attuned to see it, but just assume it is part of the fabric of life. Imagine how different our lives can be, if we see all unfolding under the gaze of God and His hand?
Today, let us walk with the Lord in the ordinariness of our day, and come to the end of it, look back, and see God’s footprints right next to ours.
May God bless you.
While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. Luke 15:20
Today we see two figures of mercy. The first, the figure of Boaz in the Book of Ruth. Who takes notice of her as she works gleaning the field. The second, the figure of the father in the parable who has pity for his wayward son who comes back after wasting his inheritance on a “life of dissipation”.
We also see the opposites of virtue and vice played out in the figures of Ruth, who models fidelity, patience, and diligence in our first reading. And in contrast with the younger son in the gospel, who models wastefulness, disrespect for his father, and selfishness. It is easy to desire to choose to follow Ruth’s example, so stark a contrast they are.
But there is one more figure, that is more subtle. The older son in the parable. He is the one who exteriorly did all the right things. He never disobeyed his father and worked diligently (coming in from the fields he heard there was a party going on). But he lacks in an important quality of a human person: compassion. He also demonstrates that although he was faithful all these years, it had been only an act of duty; not out of love for his father. He is quick to judge his brother, and paints an unsavory picture of him.
When we imagine ourselves before God – a day will come when we will see Him face-to-face – what image do we have? Merciful? Stern? Fearful? Loving? We find in the parable a vision of hope, a Father who waits for our return, ready to run to us and embrace us despite our unworthiness. Can we accept His mercy? Can we humbly let the Father embrace us, and lead us into His home? To celebrate with Him. To celebrate his overwhelming love for us?
May God bless you.