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The Redeemer

Submitted by on Saturday, 20 August 2011One Comment

ruth06-boaz-cartoon-sm

Today’s Readings

  • Reading I:  Ruth 2:1-4:17 (passim)
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 128
  • Gospel Reading: Matthew 23:1-12

Boaz the Redeemer

The reading from the book of Ruth is a selection of passages found within 2:1-4:17. The following episodes are highlighted:

  • Ruth in Boaz’s field. She is a widow living with another widow and numbered among those who have the right to gather after the harvesters.
  • Boaz shows "hesed" (here, "kindness", "generosity") to Ruth. Boaz does not only allow Ruth to glean, he also makes sure that she gets enough, is safe and provided with water. Boaz informs her that he has heard about Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi.
  • The concluding episode, with Boaz and Ruth being married and a son is born of the union. The son is called Obed, the one who will be the grandfather of David the king.

levy-emile-ruth-and-naomi-1859-sm The selection skips over some details: (a) the instructions that Naomi gives to Ruth about the the role of Boaz as their family’s "Redeemer"; (b) the meeting of Ruth and Boaz in his threshingfloow where Ruth practically asks Boaz to marry her; and (c) Boaz transacting for the right of redemption. This last is interesting because it gives us an idea of how rights are transferred in ancient Israel. Here, the sandal becomes a guarantee — some sort of certificate — that the right of being Naomi’s Goel (Redeemer) has been transferred to Boaz. This "sandal" episode actually sheds light on one of the statements of John the Baptist about Jesus: that he (the Baptist) is unworthy to untie his (Jesus’) sandals.

The responsorial psalm from Psalm 128 is a blessing for the family that fears the Lord. The blessing actually flows from God to the father and from him to the rest of his family. So the father is blessed in his work, in his wife who mothers his children.

Denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees

Jesus tells his disciples not to imitate the Pharisees because they

  • do not practise what they preach
  • they lay a burden on the shoulders of others but would not help them carry it (in reference to the way they interpret the laws of Moses)
  • want to be seen as they perform their good works
  • their phylacteries and tassels are bigger than normal
  • they love to be honored in banquets
  • they love to be called by titles

The titles of the Pharisees "Rabbi", "Abba" and "Master" should not even be used among the disciples themselves. Instead,the disciple should be a servant. Thus the teaching "The greatest among you must be your servant" already stated before using a child as an example, is provided with a practical example.

Ruth 2:1-4
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1Now her husband Elimelech had a kinsman, a powerful man, and very rich, whose name was Booz.
2And Ruth the Moabitess said to her mother in law: If thou wilt, I will go into the field, and glean the ears of corn that escape the hands of the reapers, wheresoever I shall find grace with a householder that will be favourable to me. And she answered her: Go, my daughter.
3She went therefore and gleaned the ears of corn after the reapers. And it happened that the owner of that field was Booz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.
4And behold, he came out of Bethlehem, and said to the reapers: The Lord be with you. And they answered him: The Lord bless thee.
Matthew 23:1-12
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples,
2Saying: The scribes and the Pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses.
3All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not.
4For they bind heavy and insupportable burdens, and lay them on men's shoulders; but with a finger of their own they will not move them.
5And all their works they do for to be seen of men. For they make their phylacteries broad, and enlarge their fringes.
6And they love the first places at feasts, and the first chairs in the synagogues,
7And salutations in the market place, and to be called by men, Rabbi.
8But be not you called Rabbi. For one is your master; and all you are brethren.
9And call none your father upon earth; for one is your father, who is in heaven.
10Neither be ye called masters; for one is you master, Christ.
11He that is the greatest among you shall be your servant.
12And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled: and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

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