December 15th. Ruth. Ruth is one of the truly good Biblical characters, a faithful yet vulnerable woman. There is cultural aspect to the story, as she was a foreigner. On being widowed she decided to stay with and care for her mother-in-law Naomi rather than go back to her own people. She accompanied Naomi back to Judah. At first they were very poor and she worked at gathering up wheat remains in the fields after harvesting. Naomi planned to introduce her to Boaz, the owner of the fields, a distant relative and an honourable man. As the story unfolds, Boaz claimed Ruth’s late husband’s holdings and claims Ruth herself and marries her. Ruth’s son Obed was the father of Jesse and grandfather of David.

Pope Francis: the larger family includes fathers-in-law, mothers-in-law and all the relatives of the couple. These should not be viewed as competitors, threats or intruders. AL 198. For reflection and discussion. Ruth’s words, “Wherever you go I shall go, your people will be my people and your God will be my God,” have become famous and are also used in speaking about marriage. In this story the beautiful relationship between mother and daughter-in-law, and God’s use of foreigners for his plan, are important topics in this story. Discuss.