Homilette for Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

(Judges 6:11-24a; Matthew 19:23-30)

The casual dialogue between Gideon and the Lord sounds something like the script of “Fiddler on the Roof.” When God assures Gideon that He stands with His people, Gideon retorts cynically. “If you are with us,” he implies, “then why have we suffered so much humiliation?” The passage from the Book of Judges read yesterday actually provides the reason for the lack of Israelite success. The Israelites have been unfaithful to their Covenant with God. Compromising their integrity as a people, they become easy prey to enemies.

Gideon may be talking flippantly because he is not sure if the stranger before him is really the Lord. He asks for a sign which is soon given when fire consumes Gideon’s sacrificial offering. Then Gideon begins to wonder if he will suffer for his impertinence, but God reassures him that he will be fine.

We should not hesitate to open our hearts to God in prayer like Gideon does here. But humility is called for in the presence of such an awesome collocutor. God is, after all, not our buddy but our Creator. He befriends us out of love but does not share our tendencies to complain and gossip. Let us speak to Him with minds attentive to both His correction and His encouragement.