Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Naomi's Redemption

Daily Readings
Psalm 119:1-16 + Ruth 4 + I Chronicles18 + Jeremiah 13

Quote of the Day
For as the loincloth clings to one’s loins, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the LORD, in order that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory…. Jeremiah 13:11

Daily Text: Ruth 4

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Naomi’s Redemption
Boaz left the threshing floor and went to the city gate. He encountered the man who had first redemption rights to Elimelech’s property and offered the property to him. He accepted, and then when Boaz mentioned the additional responsibilities of Naomi and Ruth, he declined. It appears at one level that Boaz was quite canny about all of this, however, at another level he was utterly straightforward and respectful of the other man’s legal precedence.

The levirite legal procedure here is thoughtful and fascinating. As was suggested in chapter 3, Naomi is the one whose rights are being protected. Elimelech was the kinsman to Boaz and our unknown second party. When Boaz marries Ruth he is doing so ‘as part of a legally valid commercial transaction’ [436:147]. He is not ‘buying’ Ruth, but he is buying property and rights and, if you will, a name. The child, Obed, who is a result of this union is recorded here as a child for Naomi! That is, this child is the one who inherits his grandfather and Mahlon’s estate even though Boaz is remembered as his father and Ruth as his mother. It is all wrapped up in the notion that to be remembered one must have children, and thereby have one’s name carried on into the future. In this case, Mahlon did that through his wife and her second husband, though even more primary were Elimelech and Naomi. David’s father thus inherited Elimelech’s estate from Obed.

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

Ruth and Naomi
Thomas Curtis Clark

Three weeping women in the Moab land:
For death had robbed them of the men they loved;
Three widows left to face the world, which proved,
For all it held, a maze of desert sand.
But fate was kind: to Bethlehem returned,
Naomi, Ruth found comfort for their woes.
Good Boaz, kinsman, smiled as in the rows
Of corn the daughter gleaned,; and as he yearned
To soothe her grief, Naomi dreamed that he
Should through the lowly Ruth raise up once more
From wreck the family name. The shining door
Of hope stood wide: her dream came true and she
Who sorrowed now was glad. Ruth then could sing—
She knew not that through her should come Earth’s King!

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.


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