Gideon, go and deliver Israel. Do not I send you?
A reading from the Book of Judges (Judges 6:11-24a)
In those days: The angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press, to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valour.” And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this befallen us? And where are all his wonderful deeds which our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has cast us off, and given us into the hand of Midian.” And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” And he said to him, “If now I have found favour with you, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me: Do not depart from here, I beg you, until I come to you, and bring out my present, and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.” So Gideon went into his house and prepared a kid, and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour; the meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the oak and presented them. And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes; and there sprang up fire from the rock and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord; and Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you; do not fear, you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it, The Lord is peace.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm85:9.11-12.13-14(R.see9b)
R/. The Lord speaks of peace for his people.
I will hear what the Lord God speaks;
He speaks of peace for his people and his faithful,
And those who turn their hearts to him. R.
Merciful love and faithfulness have met;
justice and peace have kissed.
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth,
and justice look down from heaven. R.
Also the Lord will bestow his bounty,
and our earth shall yield its increase.
Justice will march before him,
And guide his steps on the way. R.
ALLELUIA 2 Corinthians 8:9
Alleluia. Though Jesus Christ was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. Alleluia.
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 19:23-30)
At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “Behold, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
God often uses humble people to achieve his purpose. He is slow to choose those who are already powerful and who would attribute every victory of theirs to their power and wealth. It is not surprising that God chose Gideon to deliver Israel from the hands of Midian. Gideon had a humble background as a simple farmer, someone who belonged to the weakest clan in Manasseh and was the least member of his family. God transformed Gideon into a valiant warrior and a judge. Jesus teaches us that if we are to gain happiness and enter into eternal life, we must strip ourselves of pride and selfishness. In short, the easiest way to enter into heaven is not by obsession with the idol of wealth but through self-emptying and simplicity.