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All Issues > Volume 25, Issue 5

<< Tuesday, August 18, 2009 >> St. Jane Frances de Chantal
Judges 6:11-24
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Psalm 85:9, 11-14 Matthew 19:23-30
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"The last shall come first." —Matthew 19:30

The Israelites were oppressed externally by the nation of Midian, and internally by their own idolatry. Joash the Abiezrite, father of Gideon, had built an altar to an idol (Jgs 6:25), as well as a sacred pole used in idol worship. God called the fearful Gideon to deliver Israel from Midianite oppression (Jgs 6:14).

When Gideon assembled a large army, God told him, "You have too many soldiers with you for Me to deliver Midian into [your] power" (Jgs 7:2). So God told Gideon to send the fearful men home, which reduced the army to 32% of its original force. God said: "There are still too many soldiers" (Jgs 7:4). Then God devised a test to show which of those who were not afraid would be alert, ready, and prepared for battle (Jgs 7:5; cp Mt 25:1-13). After this test, less than 1% of the original soldiers remained. It was through these three-hundred lowly, obedient Israelites that God received glory when He delivered Israel through Gideon. God chooses the weak, "insignificant" (Jgs 6:15), and lowly so that He will receive glory (see Ex 14:18). The last come first (Mt 19:30).

The victorious Gideon refused to grab the glory from the Lord. He instead told the people to subject themselves to the Lord instead of their former idols, saying: "The Lord must rule over you" (Jgs 8:23). God doesn't need multitudes to be victorious. What He wants is spirit-filled servants who abandon themselves to Him (Jgs 6:34) and leaders who put His will above all else (Jgs 6:25ff; Mt 19:29).

Prayer: Lord, I want to be a "champion" for You (Jgs 6:12).
Promise: "For man it is impossible; but for God all things are possible." —Mt 19:26
Praise: St. Jane Frances, a widow with four children, abandoned herself to being the Bridegroom's bride. She then lived as a consecrated religious for thirty-one years, building an order by founding eighty-six convents in her lifetime.
(This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from August 1, 2009 through September 30, 2009.
†Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 11, 2009.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
Volume 25, Issue 5
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