Table of Contents
Division – try getting to know those with whom you disagree
You might not know much about what happened in the first reading. You may not know who Ruth was, why they left, and ultimately what happened to Ruth and ultimately to us. They went to a foreign land because they were in need. They were refugees.
They went into this foreign land and they were fortunate. They were allowed to do what is called gleaning the field. To glean the field means that they were in that part of the field that was left for strangers, for refugees, for the poor. In the midst of this gleaning that was going on, Boaz notices Ruth and ultimately falls in love. They get married.
Think about how history could have been changed if Ruth and Naomi had not been welcomed into this area. Boaz and Ruth never would have met. But more importantly, Boaz and Ruth would not have had children. One of their children was the servant Jesse, who was the father of King David. And it’s from King David that Jesus is born.
Think about moments in life where we think maybe things aren’t going so well. I can think of at least one. It was when I didn’t get an assignment that I thought I was going to get when I was still in Vermont. But had I not gotten or went to the assignment I did get, I wouldn’t have experienced the value of community. I wouldn’t have decided to leave the diocese, to join the Dominican Friars, and I wouldn’t be here. My life would have gone in a completely different direction.
Now think about our community for a minute, because if we want peace, we first of all have to understand how to make peace in our own world and in our own place. Are you the kind of person that goes out of your way to meet people you don’t know, to meet strangers, maybe to get to know someone that’s different than you are?
Or do you play it safe and just kind of stay with people that think like you do, look like you do, act like you do? And when it comes to welcoming others, Do we know anything at all about areas of our region that are different from where we lived?
You see, we live in a particular time where I think it’s easier than it has ever been to kind of put ourselves in a little cocoon. Not to allow ourselves to be challenged. Not to allow ourselves to see things maybe from a different point of view. Not to understand that some people struggle and suffer and have difficulties.
But it may just be the stranger in your life that sets your life on a completely different path, the one that leads to fulfillment. It is not easy to live our life. There are all kinds of things that are challenging and difficult, but not as challenging and difficult as people who are forced to leave their homeland because it isn’t safe or there’s nothing to eat.
Just imagine if when Mary and Joseph had left their home in Nazareth and gone to Bethlehem, they had not been welcomed. When they went to Egypt, what if they couldn’t get a job? What if they couldn’t do anything?
Strangers are an opportunity to help us to get to know a little bit more the person of God, because we’re all made in God’s image and likeness. Now, let’s think of our community again. You see, the only way I can really get to know someone is, or the only way I can really live in harmony with someone, the only way I can really live a fulfilling life, the only way we can really call ourselves brothers and sisters is if we listen to the stories and the circumstances of one another.
And I’m going to give you today some concrete ways you might, just might, take an opportunity to get to know God better and to get to know each other better. Think of where we are right now, Ross Hall, a space that’s normally used or is often used, probably most used, for us to have lunch.
What have you sat at a different table with people you didn’t know. What if instead of trying to sneak into cram more than six people at a table, not that anybody here at CBC would ever do that, but go with me for a while, what if you said, “I’m going to go to a different table”? Maybe where I don’t know someone.
Because that’s kind of what refugees do. They’re desperate. They go somewhere else. They don’t know anybody. Maybe it gives you a chance to get to know someone that could become one of your best friends.
The same could happen in college. Your wife could be someone that you’ve not yet met. So one way might be to think about sitting somewhere different for lunch. Here’s another. You have seven class periods. What if in one of those class periods, maybe when you might be allowed to choose a group that you’re going to work with, you picked a group that was different than the one that included people you already knew?
You probably know, like I do, that generally speaking groups made up of friends are not necessarily the most productive or efficient. But more than that, maybe the people that you take a chance to get to know are the very people that can change your life, can do something different.
What if in your life here you tried some new activity? You said, “I don’t normally do this, but I’m going to do this today.” See who is in this group. See what happens here. See what these people do. Because in doing that, you might find yourself led in something thing that is quite dramatic. You might find yourself led to the deep fulfillment and love that God desires for each one of us.
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