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FRIENDSHIP AND LOVING GOD ABOVE ALL THINGS

Father Francis's picture
Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Ruth 1:1,3-6,14-16,22 & Mt. 22:34-40

Why is the small book of Ruth included in the Bible? The simple answer has to be that it is because she was the great-grand mother of King David and, therefore, was one of Jesus' ancestors.

Elimelech and Naomi and their two sons had to leave their home in Bethlehem because of famine. They came to live in Moab, a pagan country. Their sons married Moabite women Orpah and Ruth. Eventually the three men in the family died. News reached Naomi that there was no longer famine in her country and so she decided to return home. Orpah was going to remain in her country of origin. Naomi tried to persuade Ruth to remain in Moab and remarry, but Ruth would not hear of it. She was too attached to her mother-in-law and spoke those memorable words, “Do not press me to leave you and turn back from your company, for wherever you go, I will go, wherever you live, I will live. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.”

As things turned out, Ruth’s commitment to Naomi had incredibly far-reaching consequences. In Bethlehem, Ruth met Boaz. The two became great-grand parents to King David, the greatest of Israel’s kings and the ancestors of Jesus, the King of kings and Saviour of our world.

What abundant blessings God brought forth out of Ruth’s faithfulness – showing how deeply He treasures our faithfulness to one another. Friendship is a gift of God and Ruth’s with her mother-in-law helped them both to experience the love of God Himself. What an amazing thought: we can participate in the life of Christ only in the degree to which we are in fellowship with one another. May God open our eyes to see the great potential that exists in our relationships.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind." This great commandment of Jesus can seem intimidating at times. We may think that to love God with everything we are - heart, soul and mind - must require continually performing heroic acts of virtue. But divine love is not about doing.

Our life with God is meant to be a dialogue of love: for example, Scripture describes the relationship between Moses and God as friendship (Ex 33:11). Throughout his life, Moses became ever more intimate with God. We should approach God as our Friend, too, with the boldness of our faith in Jesus' saving death and resurrection. God is our friend. He will nurture and guide us in our relationship with Him each time we meet Him in prayer, Scripture reading and in the liturgy. The more time we spend with God, the more time we want to spend with Him. And as we are with Him, we become more and more accustomed to involving Him, not only in each event of our lives but in every moment of our very existence, our hearts becoming even more open to Him.

Are you happy? Thank God for all the graces He has bestowed on you. Do you encounter obstacles? Ask the Lord how to approach difficult situations. Have your feelings been hurt? Ask Jesus to show you how to forgive those who hurt you and to restore those relationships. Are you in need physically or spiritually? Go to the Divine Physician for healing. Have you sinned? Run into the open arms of your merciful Father in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and receive His cleansing and new life.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of friendship. Open our hearts to Your passionate love. Help us to come to You every day as a Friend and to want You to be part of each moment of our lives.

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