Scripture: 1st Reading: Judges6,11-24; Resp. Psalm: Ps85,9,11-14; Gosp. Accl.: 2Cor8,9; Gospel: Mt19,23-30
The Midianites oppressed Israel and made the lives of the people unbearable. It seemed as if Yahweh had forgotten His promises to His people. The enemy was having a field day and it appeared Yahweh was unmindful of His people's calamity.
So the people thought. So thought Gideon too. From Gideon's lamentations in today's first Reading, it is clear that the people thought Yahweh had forgotten the great deeds He did for His people and that generations recalled with much joy and appreciation. Responding to Gideon, Yahweh sent him to deliver Israel from the clutches of the enemy.
Gideon thought the battle was his to fight. He complained that his clan was the weakest. He forgot that God picks the weak to shame the strong and demonstrate that ultimately, He is the One who acts when victories are obtained. Gideon asked for a sign to show that Yahweh would be with him. The angel gave him the sign. Gideon believed.
Yahweh does not abandon His people. He has a particular love for each of His creatures. He hears their cry. He responds with mighty arms. This is why our Lord in today's gospel directs us to take away every distraction to our relationship with Him. After his encountered with the rich young man, our Lord took His time to teach His disciples about the corrupting influence of riches and possessions.
Our Lord then used the opportunity to teach about the kingdom value of detachment from the things of this world. When Peter asked Him the reward for those who left everything to follow Him, our Lord was categorical: "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."
What a beautiful life to follow the Lord in a radical way, to live in Him, to trust Him fully, to make Him the sole business of one's entire existence. Such is the beauty of authentic and radical discipleship that then becomes a beacon of hope to the world.
The Blessed Virgin Mary was such a disciple. Mother of the Son, she was also a disciple of the Son. She taught Her divine Son. In time, the Son taught the mother and revealed to her the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven. She believed in her Son in everything. This was why our faith taught from the earliest beginnings that she was crowned queen of heaven as a reward for her cooperation with the saving mission of her Son.
Our Mother Mary invites us today to contemplate what obedience to the will of God implies for our lives as followers of Her divine Son. She invites us to a total love for her Son's mission. She challenges us daily to a life of conversion, turning away from sin and turning to God. She calls us to a daily renewal of life on the basis of the beatitudes. May she continue to intercede for us now and at the hour of our death.
On a personal note, kindly say a prayer for me today, the exact day, 25yrs ago, when I was ordained a priest. Beg God to grant me the grace of final perseverance. Thank you all for your love and for being part of my history. We shall celebrate our thanksgiving together on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at St. Matthew's Parish, Ondo. God bless you.
Let us pray: "O God, who made the Mother of your Son to be our Mother and our Queen, graciously grant that, sustained by her intercession, we may attain in the heavenly Kingdom the glory promised to your children." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. Have a joyful celebration.