RUTH YESTERDAY AND TODAY: BEST MODEL OF CHRISTIAN CONVERSION
Ruth in the Old Testament was a Moabite girl who did not know the true God of Abraham, the true God of Isaac and the true God of Jacob until she became the daughter-in-law of Naomi.
Naomi and Elimelech, her husband, together with their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, were among the wave of migrant people from Israel who left their country because of a severe famine and who came to Moab looking for a chance of survival.
After the death of her husband, the widow had to work very hard taking care of her two young kids. Living in a foreign land, Naomi had no choice but took two Moabite women, one named Orpah, the other Ruth, to be the wives of Mahlon and Chilion respectively. The two men died shortly leaving a desperate family with three childless widows.
Naomi decided to go back to Israel her homeland where she would not escape from the hardship of everyday life though but there she was assured of full freedom of worshipping the Great Almighty God of her ancestors.
Naomi told her two daughters-in-law of her plan and allowed them to return to their own parents’ homes.
Orpah kissed Naomi good-bye and left.
But Ruth embraced her mother-in-law Naomi and said to her in tears:
“Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! For wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (see Ru 1:16).
The rest of this so touching and inspiring a story was a happy ending. Ruth got married to Boaz a relative of the Elimelech family and as a result she became the great-grand mother of King David. So, in the genealogy of Jesus, as reported by Saint Matthew, Chapter I, verses from 5 to 6, Ruth will be honored for ever as one of the holy ancestors of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
We thank the loving and caring Father in heaven, the true God of our holy ancestors, for receiving you on this very meaningful day into His Holy genealogy because you have left everything to profess your faith in Jesus Christ, his Only Begotten Son, true God and true man.
By so doing, you have made a wise, right and grace-filled decision that brings you one of the best blessings that you have ever dreamt of. Through the saving power of Jesus Christ’s Suffering, Death and Resurrection in the Sacrament of Baptism, you have become a member of the big family of God’s children, the Holy Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ himself. You are now called to be eye-witness to your own family, the same way Ruth did her own family before, of the good news that there is now an ever larger extended family of which you are the trusted contact person, between your blood family and present Christian family.
We thank your good and generous parents for their wonderful family education background that has encouraged you to say what did Ruth before: “Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! For wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”
We are overwhelmed today by the great blessing of Christian conversion, this means the encounter with Jesus Christ and the starting of the new life in Jesus Christ until the day we will be totally transformed into his Life. Death and Resurrection.
Let us join Bartimaeus, the blind man in this Mission Sunday Gospel, taken from Mark, Chapter 10, verses from 46 to 52, to ask Jesus for this favor: “Master, I want to see”.
Fr. Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Nhut, O.P.