At first glance, Naomi’s suggestions to Ruth seem a bit dar­ing, even dangerous. But nothing in the text detracts from a genuine concern for her loyal and com­pas­sionate Moabite daughter-in-law who, like Naomi, is a widow. Both women face all the uncertainties and hardships of widowhood in their time and place.
As our population ages, as researchers develop medical techniques that further foster longevity for the elderly, few fami­lies will be spared the agony of nursing home choices. But today’s text reverses the normal concern: Here the older Naomi attempts to secure and fulfill Ruth’s future.
Yet do not most of us spend time and invest resources to benefit loved ones who will survive us? We do so through financial planning. The concern expresses itself collectively as well as privately. We will work together to insure the sound­ness of Social Security for the decades ahead of us. And we will continue to press for health care coverage for the children of the working poor and others left out of our current system of coverage. Compassion is collective as well as individual.
Naomi has many reasons to be self-centered and self-pitying. But she exercises great love in planning for Ruth’s future and well-being. Perhaps Naomi helps us care, focus, and plan for the younger as well as the older generation.

Dear God, let Naomi’s spirit of remarkable compassion and follow-through be in me. In my own time and place, fill me and make me a good steward in the healing of creation. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 12:38-44

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Lectionary Week
November 5–11, 2018
Scripture Overview

Ruth’s story forms part of the background of the family of Jesus. The son of Ruth and Boaz, Obed, is David’s grandfather. The women of Bethlehem rejoice with Naomi at the birth of her grandson, and the psalmist declares that children are a blessing from God. In the scriptures children are spoken of only as a blessing, never as a liability (unlike some narratives in our culture). The Hebrew writer builds upon the eternal nature of Christ’s sacrifice, proclaiming that his death was sufficient once for all. In Mark, Jesus warns his disciples not to be fooled by appearances. Those who put on a big show of piety do not impress God. God wants us instead to give from the heart, even if no one but God sees.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17. How has your life been enriched through the diversity of people around you?
• Read Psalm 127. How do you actively ensure the shaping of your household around godly practice?
• Read Hebrews 9:24-28. What spiritual income do you draw upon to keep your faith and hope alive?
• Read Mark 12:38-44. How do you guard against duplicitous living?

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