Had today not been the feast day of the apostle Nathaneal (son of Tolmay), we would have continued reading from Ruth (2:1-3, 8-11; 4:13-17). Yesterday we heard of Ruth, a Moabite, leaving her homeland to follow her mother-in-law back to the latter’s home in Jerusalem upon Ruth’s insistence (Naomi, the mother-in-law, had invited Ruth to go back to her town in Moab). Extraordinary because Moab was Gentile territory in which pagan gods were worshiped, unlike the monotheistic Jews. In Bethlehem she marries Boaz, a clansman of Naomi’s late husband, the union of which yields Obed (of whom Naomi predicts great things — see the headline) who, we are told, will become the grandfather of the great King David.
In Matthew’s famous opening genealogy, only four women are mentioned, and Ruth is the second one. All are Gentiles. God’s plan does not allow unusual circumstances or “undesirable” persons to alter it. The greatest king of the Old Testament was David and his great-grandmother was a pagan. Jesus’ line included all stripes of person, both male and female. God will not be deterred by man’s failings, and potentially can include anyone, regardless of origin, status, or any other factor that is used by men in unjust discrimination. Thus, we should be open to the Lord’s message to us in our lives regardless of where, or from whom, it comes. Let us not be like the disciples who Jesus admonished by saying to them, “Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?” (Mk 8:18) Be attentive to the Lord whether His Word comes in a roar or a whisper, from an expected place or the most unlikely source imaginable.