Today we hear of the call of Gideon who describes himself as the lowliest member of the lowliest family in Israel. Once again, it seems that God is choosing the weakest of men to do God’s bidding.
Gideon is also a man of little faith. Throughout the story of Gideon, we hear of him constantly testing God, asking for signs as assurance that it is really God who is asking for him to act in God’s name.
The sacred writer is making a strong point through the story of Gideon. Even a poor man of a poor family who is full of doubts about God and about his ability to do God’s bidding can be used to further God’s plan of salvation. Here we are thousands of years later, reading his story and praising God for his victories. God has used Gideon and the other judges for God’s purposes. God chooses the weak and makes them strong in service of God’s will.
Today we celebrate the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This feast is placed on the Octave of the Feast of the Assumption. The two feasts act as bookends, you might say, to the mystery of God’s will in Mary’s life. The Gospel tells us only that she is a maiden of Nazareth. We know nothing of her family lineage. Mary, Joseph, Zechariah, Elizabeth, Hannah, Simeon and the shepherds all appear at the beginning of the Gospel as the remnant of Israel. These characters are all another example of how God chooses the least likely to fulfill the plan set in place thousands of years before. God once again chooses that which is unremarkable and raises them up to the pinnacle of devotion. It is all God’s doing. Mary herself sings of all that God has accomplished through her. The difference between her and Gideon is that this young maiden was a woman of faith.
As we read this story from the Hebrew Scriptures, it might be good for us to remember that God has also called us. Throughout our lives, we have been asked to be servants of the Gospel. It matters not whether we have any talent or ability or education. Even if we do, these are all gifts from God. They are not of our own making. God has invested us with whatever talents, ability and education we may have. God says the same thing to us that he said to Gideon, to Mary, and to all those who serve God’s will. Be not afraid.
As we celebrate today, it would be good for us to ask ourselves whether we have done all that God has asked of us, or have we held back because we don’t think we are capable. God can do great things through us if we simply open ourselves to God’s will.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator