August 19, 2011 - Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

Ruth did not begin to worship the true God because she had gotten a doctorate in theology. She seems strangely unconcerned about what god she is going to worship. She wants to stay with Naomi, her mother-in-law, so she says, “Wherever you go, I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” This is an insufficient place to end up, but, as a beginning, it is not bad. Naomi never pressured Ruth to convert, but she never compromised her own faith either. Ruth saw something attractive in the life of Naomi and wanted to be with her. Naomi made a convert because she was a friend.

Every one of you is called to convert someone. This does not mean that you should preach on the street corner. If you are a good person, people will want to be with you, people will want to be like you. We cannot love God properly without loving our neighbor. A good Christian is not someone who prays half the time and yells at people for the other half. A good Christian is like a bridge, connected to God at one end and to people at the other. A bridge like that is easy to cross.

As for Ruth, she is the great-grandmother of King David, which makes her the great, great, great … grandmother of Jesus. She is just another example in the genealogy of Jesus of someone we might not have expected. She was a Moabite, not an Israelite. It was her second marriage that produced the line of Jesus. She began her journey to the Lord as a foreigner following Naomi, but the Lord accepted her and brought her into the very center of his plan for the salvation of the world.