No Law So Demanding
Passionist Scripture scholar Fr. Barnabas Ahern once wrote that there is no law so demanding as the law of love. Today’s readings not only offer a classic example of this wisdom, they become a marvelous source or font for our meditation, because we are pulled into a delightful paradox as we ponder God’s love and care for us.
While Jesus begins with love of God, and from there proceeds to love of neighbor, Ruth’s dedication is, first of all, to Naomi, her mother-in-law, and only then to Naomi’s God. Widowed herself, Ruth refuses to leave widowed Naomi alone, to fend for herself.
This interplay might serve as a kind of guidepost for us today, in the chaos of politics and government, and, yes, organized religion. We come to God, to love, to loyalty and faithfulness, responsibility and commitment, first of all through love and admiration of another person. But we also notice how Jesus transcends the messy context of jealousy, polemics and “one-upmanship”, argumentation and intrigue… he simply invites us to relationship. To surrender and self-emptying. There is no law so demanding as the law of love.
Fr. Jack Conley, C.P. is a member of the Passionist formation community at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.