A great love story - Ruth 1: 19-22
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Even without knowing the rest of the story, we can already guess that better times lie ahead. The generous commitment of Ruth has changed our perception of the events reported here. For generations, her generous and unconditional sacrificial giving has motivated the readers of this book to praise and bless God. It has also allowed them to understand how great and immeasurable is the love of Christ for those in need. In this portion of the book, we will see what happens when these two widows arrive in Bethlehem.
1. What is the scene of this new act?
The journey from Moab to Bethlehem must not have been easy for these two widows traveling alone. Without even mentioning it, those who are aware of the dangers of a trip like this cannot help but see the care and protection of God, which is often implicit in this whole story. Their arrival did not go unnoticed, causing a great commotion in Bethlehem. What a difference from their departure! She now returns alone, without a husband and without children (take notice that she doesn’t mention Ruth). The difficult years and sufferings had taken a toll on Naomi, which makes it difficult for the women of the town to recognize her.
2. How does Naomi react to being received in her hometown?
Once again, the grief of this heartbroken widow is evident. The woman who has returned is not the same that left years ago. And she asks that they no longer call her Naomi (sweetness), but Mara (bitterness). But this fact, that they know who she is, is also an indicator of hope. She will no longer suffer alone, in a foreign land. Now, she is among her own. Where do you prefer to suffer, away from everything that is yours, or close to God? Naomi, bitter as she is, made the right decision: she has returned to her people, she has returned to God.
3. Who does she consider responsible for her sad situation?
For all of us who have strayed away from God, it is difficult to admit our own responsibility. That's what is happening here: Naomi considers God responsible for all her ills. Part of restoring our relationship with God is recognizing that God is not evil, quite the contrary, God is love. God is always merciful with his own. The situation she faces is the result of her family decisions. We, who are also constantly tempted to blame God for our misfortunes, must take this into account. The attitude we should have is that of the prodigal son, who says ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ (Luke 15:21).
Think: It is evident that Naomi's (Mara) bitterness does not allow her to see the whole picture. Yes, it is true, she left Bethlehem with a husband and children and returns without them. But she does not return alone, Ruth accompanies her. In her depression, she blames God and fails to see Ruth's love. How do you react to the tragedies that affect you?
Ideas for prayer: Thank God that he is with us, even if we do not realize it. Ask him that, when bitterness comes into your life, it does not take root in you.
Translated from the Chilean Book of Common Prayer. Prayer of confession, Holy Communion.
Almighty God, creator of all things and judge of every man, we confess before you the evil that we have committed and recognize that we have not done the good that we should have done. We have sinned by thought, word, and deed. Heavenly Father, have mercy on us, for we deserve your wrath and condemnation. We repent of all our iniquities, and we ask your forgiveness through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Pray with us today's prayer request:
Anglican Aid (Sydney) supplied seeds for planting in Toliara Diocese. In September we prayed for a good harvest. The harvest for sweet potatoes and pumpkins has been good - the farmers have enough to eat and some to sell. Praise God.
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