Ruth 1:19-2:13 NRSV
A Reading from the Book of Ruth.
So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them; and the women said, “Is this Na′omi?” She said to them, “Do not call me Na′omi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Na′omi, when the Lord has afflicted me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”
So Na′omi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.
Now Na′omi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a man of wealth, of the family of Elim′elech, whose name was Bo′az. And Ruth the Moabitess said to Na′omi, “Let me go to the field, and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” So she set forth and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers; and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Bo′az, who was of the family of Elim′elech. And behold, Bo′az came from Bethlehem; and he said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered, “The Lord bless you.” Then Bo′az said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose maiden is this?” And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “It is the Moabite maiden, who came back with Na′omi from the country of Moab. She said, ‘Pray, let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, without resting even for a moment.”
Then Bo′az said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my maidens. Let your eyes be upon the field which they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to molest you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, when I am a foreigner?” But Bo′az answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord recompense you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Then she said, “You are most gracious to me, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not one of your maidservants.”
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
1 Timothy 1:18-2:8 NRSV
A reading from the first letter to Timothy.
This charge I commit to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophetic utterances which pointed to you, that inspired by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith, among them Hymenae′us and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;
The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.
Psalm 30 NRSV
I will exalt you, O Lord, because you have lifted me up *
and have not let my enemies triumph over me.
O Lord my God, I cried out to you, *
and you restored me to health.
You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead; *
you restored my life as I was going down to the grave.
Sing to the Lord, you servants of his; *
give thanks for the remembrance of his holiness.
For his wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye, *
his favor for a lifetime.
Weeping may spend the night, *
but joy comes in the morning.
While I felt secure, I said, “I shall never be disturbed. *
You, Lord, with your favor, made me as strong as the mountains.”
Then you hid your face, *
and I was filled with fear.
I cried to you, O Lord; *
I pleaded with the Lord, saying,
“What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the Pit? *
will the dust praise you or declare your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me; *
O Lord, be my helper.”
You have turned my wailing into dancing; *
you have put off my sack-cloth and clothed me with joy.
Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing; *
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
A Reflection on Todays Reading
The woman in today’s Gospel was bent over, presumably forced by her infirmity to stare at the ground ahead rather than to look at a person talking to her. From her position, she couldn’t see the clouds in the sky, watch birds nesting in the trees, or scan a crowd for familiar faces. She was missing out on some of life’s simple pleasures. Standing there in the synagogue that day, she listened to Jesus teaching but she couldn’t see his face—until he called her over. How often are we like this woman? Bent over, crippled by sadness, grief, or illness? Unable to see any blessings amidst so much sorrow? When we feel like this, we need to place ourselves in proximity to Jesus, as the bent-over woman did. Whether or not we see his face or audibly hear his voice, Jesus will make himself present with healing graces. May we abandon ourselves in these situations and trust God to act in his time.
Jesus laid his hands on the woman to cure her. What must it have been like to feel the Lord’s hands on her head sending his healing powers through her tortured body? The touch of Christ happens in our lives every time we receive a sacrament. He also touches us through other people or through “coincidental” circumstances he arranges during our day. When have you felt the touch of Christ? What was it like? Whether it was physical, emotional, or spiritual, the consequence of being touched by Christ is a heart overflowing with gratitude. Thank you Lord Jesus!
Jesus unequivocally condemned the legalism of the Pharisees who complained that he healed the woman on the Sabbath. They were so infuriated with Jesus’s rising status among the people that they were unable to feel compassion for the woman, or even awe at the healing power manifested by Christ. Anger is a human emotion, but how we process it divides sinners from saints. Unchecked anger is a dangerous vice—one that can blind us to good in our lives. The Scriptures say, “Be angry but sin not” (Psalms 4:4)
The Gospel Readings
Luke 13:10-17 NRSV
A Reading from the Gospel According to Luke.
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” As he said this, all his adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
The Gospel of our Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Lord, help me to accept the circumstances in my life. Please give me self-mastery to control any anger I feel, and prudence to take a course of action that is pleasing to you. I never want to be considered a “hypocrite” or a wrathfully angry person, but I need your grace to live peacefully and authentically.
Resolution: Lord, by your grace I will entrust my concerns to you and mentally “let go” of anything that is preventing me from seeing the blessings in my day.