St Bernard, Abbot and doctor
20th Week in Ordinary Time (B) : Friday 20th August 2021
Ruth 1:1,3-6,14-16,22; Ps. 145:5-7,8-10;
Mt. 22:34-40 (Ps Wk IV)
The beloved Book of Ruth is more than a touching story – it teaches us about the power of love. Ruth was not an Israelite – she was from Moab. When her husband died, she refused to go back to her people. Clinging to her mother-in-law Naomi, she pledged that she would follow her wherever she went and become one with her people and worship the God of Israel. Barriers, ethnicity, or religion did not contain her love – she followed her heart. Her son Obed would be the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David, making her an ancestor of Jesus. Walking the path of love can bring great things into the world.
The greatest commandment is the love of God, and this love must consume us. It must never be half-hearted or lukewarm. When Jesus gave this commandment, he continued the Jewish tradition from the Old Testament – it was nothing new. He also joined to it something from Leviticus – we must love our neighbour as ourselves.
Love of God and love of others can never be separated, for we cannot have one without the other. Observe how religious people treat others – that tells the true story. This great commandment should be carried constantly in our minds and hearts – it can become our inner spiritual and moral GPS or compass.
Lord, may my love of God and neighbour be my guiding light.