Year B Pentecost 23 – Ruth 1:1-18; Psalm 146; Hebrews 9:11-14; Mark 12:28-34
Naomi’s story helps us understand that God allows us to become victims of our own choices. Climate change influenced her husband’s decision to leave their homeland. Considering the culture of that day, Naomi probably had little say in the matter. She did, however, have the choice to return after her husband’s death. She chose instead to stay in Moab. She stayed long enough for her sons to marry local women.
Naomi was given a second chance to return to her homeland after both her sons died. She chose to go, and the Psalmist sings of God’s providential care.
The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow.Psalm 146:9
There was an initial learning:
Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help.Psalm 146:3
The Psalmist’s melody appears to be sung after being given a second chance.
The author of Hebrews celebrates the second chance given to God’s covenant people. Noting the shortcomings of the initial priest system set up in the wilderness, Jesus Christ’s eternal priesthood is celebrated. The former could only purify our flesh; the latter purifies our conscience. How wonderful that God not only allows us to be victims of our own choices, God provides second chances to allow victory for good choices.
We are products of our Creator. We have purpose and meaning for our lives. They are not lived for selfish pleasures of “flesh”; they are lived for loving others in spirit. Mark points out the first commandment to love God. Closely connected to that is a second commandment to love our neighbours as ourselves. Humans are blessed with second chances. Perhaps you made poor choices in the past. Be encouraged through Naomi’s story that past choices do not prevent future blessings. As a wise person once said: