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The ashy-white sun burned the sand beneath Ruth’s feet. The woman straightened the veil, protecting her face from heat. Nothing here resembled the plateau of Moab. The east side of the Jordan valley presented better conditions than Bethlehem.
 
Ruth rested for a moment in a shade and closing her eyes, she recalled the green hills of her homeland. Rain… When was the last time she breathed the refreshing air of life-giving showers?  West-facing mounds of Moab got rain much more often than the little village south of Jerusalem. Life was so much more difficult here. Maybe Orpah did right? 

Life changed so dramatically for both of them when their husbands died. Ruth pressed the right hand to her chest, remembering Mahlon’s handsome face. She missed him so much. And the security he presented. A childless widow – was there any worse fate? Perpetual hunger and poverty were her only destiny. Why didn’t she come back with Orpah to Moab? Kissing Naomi goodbye came so easily to Ruth’ sister-in-law. Orpah simply returned looking for a new home. And Ruth? Ruth clung to Naomi, and to everything Naomi believed in, along with promises hidden in the name of Bethlehem.

Bethlehem, the House of Bread and the hometown of the future messiah, the redeemer of all.

All except Ruth – she was a stranger.
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Parishes of Greystones and Kilquade · The Holy Rosary & St. Kilian Parish · La Touche Road · Greystones, Co. Wicklow A63N478 · Ireland