Reflection on the Daily Readings for 8/18/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Judges 6:11-24. Psalm 85: 9.11-12.13-14. Matthew 19: 23-30.
Lectionary # 420:

We all have heard of Gideon's Bible. Gideons International started in 1899
and is an interdenominational society that has as its goal to put a Bible
in every hotel room in the United States.  From many of our experiences, we
have found that they have done well with this goal.  Gideon, of course, is
one of the heroes in the Book of Judges.  He is considered both a judge and
a warrior called to protect the Israelites from the Midianites who were
destroying their wheat supply both in field and in their supply quarters.
An angel appears to Gideon and tells him he is the one God has chosen to
put an end to this. It is a comical announcement when we hear Gideon's
reply. The angel says to him as he is working or threshing wheat and says,
"The Lord is with you." He reponds, " If the Lord is with me, why is all
this happening to us?"  Gideon then becomes a person who likes signs from
the messengers God sends him and God does give him the signs he asks for.
There was a strong sense of faith on Gideon's part and God rewarded it with
these signs.
The story of Gideon is found in chapters 6-8 of Judges. "The story shows
Israel as a settled agricultural people, not strong enough to resist the
incursions of the nomad raiders even in western Palestine. The camels of
the Midianites here are the first mention of domesticated camels in the
O.T. The swiftness and capacity for long distance travel of these animals
made it difficult for the peasants to defend themselves against
raids." (Dictionary of the Bible, McKenzie, p.308).

Gideon is a humble leader and always saw God as the only King of Israel. He
was not in favor of a monarchy for Israel.  He also dedicated an altar to
God and called it Lord of Peace (Yahweh Shalom).

Matthew's Gospel passage calls us to strengthen our discipleship and to
become conscious of the kingdom of God both within us and God's kingdom in
the glorious realm of heaven in the future.  This seems to be a passage of
realized eschatology and future eschatology. That means it looks to our
immediate situation of living in the presence of God and then of our future
with God in the eternal kingdom where all of the faithful disciples are.
For us, this passage helps us to remember that our sufferings are to be
united to those of Jesus. Our words and our actions should testify to our
discipleship each day. Amen.