Memorial of Saint Bernard,
Abbot and Doctor of the Church
"Who, me? I can’t do what you ask because I’m a nobody. I’m just another very ordinary person at the bottom of the society. You’ve got to be kidding!" Those aren’t the exact words but that’s what Gideon is saying to the angel who, in the first reading today, just asked Gideon to lead the Israelites out from under the oppressive rule of the Midianites. "How can I save Israel?" The response from the angel who speaks with the voice of God responds, "I shall be with you…." Gideon believes in his call and as we read in the rest of the story, does exactly what the angel had asked. Gideon becomes one the great liberators of Israel.
How about us? Through our baptism we are called to live in Christ, to witness to Christ’s presence in the world, to be Christ for others. Now that’s a huge challenge! When we come to understand that’s our baptismal call, we tend to respond much like Gideon, "Who, me? I’m just another very ordinary person and certainly can’t be expected to live up to that baptismal call. That’s for the great saints…not for ordinary people like me." Gideon was able to fulfill the call of the Lord because he believed God when God promised to "be with you." God promises the same to us. In fact, God has fulfilled His promise through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Do we believe that God is with us? That’s the question. In remembering Gideon’s experience today, we ask God to strengthen our belief that in every situation in our lives, God always goes before us, so that we can be His presence in the world.
Fr. Michael Higgins, C.P. is the director of the Development Office for Holy Cross Province and is stationed at Immaculate Conception Community in Chicago.