Monday, August 15, 2005



AUGUST 16, 2005

JUDGES 6:11-24A
The angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth in Ophrah that
belonged to Joash the Abiezrite. While his son Gideon was beating out
wheat in the wine press to save it from the Midianites, the angel of
the LORD appeared to him and said, "The LORD is with you, O champion!"
Gideon said to him, "My Lord, if the LORD is with us, why has all this
happened to us? Where are his wondrous deeds of which our fathers told
us when they said, `Did not the LORD bring us up
from Egypt?' For now the LORD has abandoned us and has delivered us
into the power of Midian." The LORD turned to him and said, "Go with
the strength you have and save Israel from the power of Midian. It is I
who send you." But Gideon answered him, "Please, my lord, how can I
save Israel? My family is the lowliest in Manasseh, and I am the most
insignificant in my father's house." "I shall be with you," the LORD
said to him, "and you will cut down Midian to the last man." Gideon
answered him, "If I find favor with you, give me a sign that you are
speaking with me. Do not depart from here, I pray you, until I come
back to you and bring out my offering and set it before you." He
answered, "I will await your return." So Gideon went off and prepared
a kid and a measure of flour in the form of unleavened cakes. Putting
the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out to him
under the terebinth and presented them. The angel of God said to him,
"Take the meat and unleavened cakes and lay
them on this rock; then pour out the broth." When he had done so, the
angel of the LORD stretched out the tip of the staff he held, and
touched the meat and unleavened cakes. Thereupon a fire came up from
the rock that consumed the meat and unleavened cakes, and the angel of
the LORD disappeared from sight. Gideon, now aware that it had been the
angel of the LORD, said, "Alas, Lord God, that I have seen the angel of
the LORD face to face!" The LORD answered him, "Be calm, do not fear.
You shall not die." So Gideon built there an altar to
the LORD and called it Yahweh-shalom.

MATTHEW 19:23-30
Jesus said to his disciples: "Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for
one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it
is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one
who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God." When the disciples heard
this, they were greatly astonished and said, "Who then can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said, "For men this is impossible, but for God
all things are possible." Then Peter said to him in reply, "We have
given up everything and followed you. What will there
be for us?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you that you who have
followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his
throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the
twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or
brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the
sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit
eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be

Gideon was an ordinary man who suddenly was called by God to defeat the
Midian oppression of Israel. It would be an understatement to say
Gideon was probably shocked and anxious. How could he, after all, a
man of very little influence in his own family, go up against the
powerful Midians?

Throughout the Bible, we see many times where God calls ordinary and
insignificant men to take on monumental if not impossible history
changing missions.

Jesus in the Gospel reading perhaps indicates why the ordinary and
insignificant are often the chosen ones. Jesus declares that the rich
or wealthy with all their attachments will have all the most difficulty
in entering the Kingdom of Heaven. He adds that the Apostles who have
given up just about everything to follow Him have a good chance for
glory, that is, if they continue to follow Him.

The poor have less to lose than the wealthy in following God. But
there may be two things we should be mindful of:

1. To follow Jesus, we must give up our attachments, as the riches
we have anchor us in comfort zones that blind us from Christ's light;

2. We should not delude ourselves that once we give up our riches,
we are saved and deserving of a throne in heaven, rather we should
understand that the throne of Jesus is the cross and that following Him
means taking up our own cross, a cross of sacrifices and difficult

Hence, it is difficult if not impossible for rich people or those of us
who are comfortable our environments, to follow Jesus and enter the
Kingdom of Heaven. The price for many of us is too high, with all our
attachments and comforts.

Let us ask the Lord through the intercession of the Blessed Mother and
saints, to grant us the humility and the courage to release us from our
attachments so that we can be servants of the cross of Jesus.

"Lord, you have captured our hearts and opened to us the treasures of
heaven. May you always be my treasure and delight and may nothing else
keep me from giving you my all."

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