Today in the first reading, we see the rest of the story of Ruth. After accompanying Naomi, she met Boaz, a prominent man of Bethlehem. They married and had children, one of whom was Obed, the grandfather of King David. Ruth is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, even though she was not a daughter of Israel. A great reminder for us that fidelity has its rewards.
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear Jesus say, “Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven.” Many non-Catholics will use this verse to try to “disprove” Catholicism because we call our priests “Father.” “Ha!,” they’ll say. “This goes directly against the teachings of Jesus!” Interestingly enough, St. Paul didn’t seem to think so. In 1 Corinthians 4 and Philemon, St. Paul calls himself a spiritual father. He also refers to Father Abraham.
Jesus ends this teaching with, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” This is true for kings and princes, priests and bishops, CEO’s and dishwashers. We must always make sure that humility is part of who we are. Let us be careful of blowing our own horn. The consequences won’t be pretty.
Father, help us to always be humble. Forgive us for those times when we exalt ourselves. In your great mercy, take us down a few notches when we need it. Amen.