November 4, 2012
The Book of Ruth is a gem set by some ancient editor next to the Book of Judges because, though written much later, the story takes place at that time. It is a moving story about a young, naïve woman and an older, wiser woman, their love for each other, and their making their way together through a world where the power belongs to men. It is also a story about the kindness of those in power to those without it.
Naomi and her husband, Elimelech, had migrated from the village of Bethlehem in Judah to the land of Moab. Their two sons had married Moabite women. Then Elimelech and both the sons died, leaving three widows, Naomi and her two daughters-in-law. Naomi sets out to return to Judah. One daughter-in-law decides to remain with her family. The other, Ruth, though a Moabite, insists upon accompanying her mother-in-law. Today we hear the story of the women’s departure from Moab and Ruth’s beautiful declaration of loyalty to her mother-in-law
Here the author of Hebrews, whoever he might be, tries to make sure his readers understand what he is saying about Christ as our high priest. The ritual of sacrifice as performed by Christ is not the cult ritual in Temple of tent, but a self-sacrifice performed in the “greater tent” of God. His offering is not the blood of animals, but his own blood. His sacrifice does not purify the flesh, but the conscience.