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Print Version September 3rd, 2001

Call, or vocation, or ministry often gets painted in the most macho terms. Maybe we’ve experienced it that way ourselves. As something heroic, demanding, self-denying. Joseph Campbell, the great student of myth, writes about the hero journey as archetypically involving leaving, leaving home, leaving family, leaving familiarity and setting out on a lone quest to slay the dragon, find the un-findable treasure, and become a man. There’s echoes of that in Jesus’ own calling—leaving the comfort of his life, his work, his home and heading out to meet John at the Jordan and be driven, dripping wet, into the desert to face his demons and embark on a short and heroic life. It’s there too in the call of the disciples. Leaving, leaving behind, growing up.
But that’s only the men. While the men are gadding about heroically slaying dragons, the women get to stay at home and mend socks. What does the women’s hero-journey look like? And is it even a journey at all?
That’s what’s so important about Ruth. She is every bit as much a disciple, every bit as much one called, as Nathaniel but her vocation is one of fidelity. Of holding tight instead of letting go. Of staying with instead of setting out. ‘Wherever you go I will go, where you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.’ I’m not suggesting there’s one way for women and another for men. Exactly the opposite. All of us need to do what Ruth did—to feel our desire and let it live as love. ‘Wherever you go I will go, where you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.’ And there she is in the lineage of Jesus—a foreigner, among the Hebrews, a women among the men. If she had not looked within and listened to her deepest desires and answered her call and spoken her words we would not have Jesus and we wouldn’t be here today.

Entry Filed under: Homilies,Loyola Hall


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