Today’s first reading is the lovely story of Ruth and Naomi. Women will tell you that there is something sacred about the bonds that are created in friendship. This story exemplifies that connection as Ruth pleads Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Ruth clings to her and Naomi consents.
When I look back over my life, I see that from a very early age my friendships with girls buoyed me and affirmed me. The relationships that I formed in elementary school are still in tact today. When I studied in the United States as a 20-year-old, I became enlightened about feminism and social justice. I maintain friendships with several of the women from my study days. When I returned to the U.S. years later to do an internship with a social justice organization, I continued contact with folks too. These were my people. I do still have male friends from these life experiences and I value them as well but there is something about the friendships with women that are unique.
Many of these women have pointed me towards God and for that I will be ever grateful. The Gospel today reminds us of the two great commandments: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind….you shall love your neighbour as yourself. I think the depth of the relationship that Ruth and Naomi shared was God-centred and many of the friendships I have are too–or at the least–bring me to the Face of God. That is pure gift.
Who in your life is someone with whom you share a deep friendship?
Is there a person in your life that points you towards God?
God, I love you with all of my heart, soul and mind
I love you more than I can explain
I find you wonderfully hidden in the faces of those I encounter
In conversations rich and meaningful
In life-changing encounters that make me want to cling
In healthy ways to You and to go where You lead.