I celebrated Mass a little while ago. The First Reading was from the Book of Ruth and recounted the story of Ruth’s mother-in-law wanting to send her back to her own people following the death of her son (Ruth’s husband). She felt this was the right course of action and that Ruth would do better among her own people. Ruth protested, saying that she wanted to stay with her
“Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, so shall I live. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God too”
It was loyalty at its selfless best. I said that sometimes couples select these words for their Wedding Mass. In so doing, I believe it likely, they feel they are words of love between spouses. So they could be. So they should be. The reality however is that their origin lies elsewhere and though they can be applied in this setting, the fuller story of their origin tells a different story.
In the Gospel too, Jesus is asked to summarise the teachings, the commandments. He does so by saying:
“You must love your God and love your neighbour … On these two stands all the teaching ….”
Though wiling go give the summary, the truth remains in the fullness of the story. It is there the full reality is found. Sound bites point us in a direction but they are not the full story.
In a way, I suppose, I was saying that the “sound bite” can be dangerous. It’s meant to be a help but can never be the full story. We need to go deeper, to a place where the fullness of the story allows the story be told in full ….