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Tuesday, August 19, 1997

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St. John Eudes

Judges 6:11-24
Psalm 85
Matthew 19:23-30

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champ and chump

"The angel of the Lord appeared to him (Gideon) and said, 'The Lord is with you, O champion!' " —Judges 6:12

Gideon probably had never been called "champion" before. He was the most insignificant member of his family, which was the most insignificant family in the not very significant tribe of Manasseh (Jgs 6:15).

However, Gideon's lack of significance was not the major obstacle to his being a champion. Gideon was afraid of his family (Jgs 6:27). His faith was so shaky that he asked God to do one sign after another (Jgs 6:17, 36, 39). Gideon was vengeful (Jgs 8:7-9, 16-17). He was so stupid that he made decisions which led the Israelites into idolatry and set the stage for the extermination of his family (Jgs 8:27; 9:5).

Although Gideon was an abominable leader, he was successful in setting God's people free from years of Midianite oppression and in establishing forty years of peace (Jgs 8:28). The Lord can work not only through the insignificant but also through the fearful, doubtful, vengeful, stupid, and even sinful. This should not encourage us to be sinful but to be thankful, repentant, and confident that the Lord can do anything — even through the worst people. He is merciful. He is all-powerful. He is Lord.

We are champions, because He is Lord (see Rm 8:37).

Prayer:  Father, although You can work through the worst, make me the best for Your honor and glory.

Promise:  "Many who are first shall come last, and the last shall come first." —Mt 19:30

Praise:  John's parents were unable to conceive. They made a pilgrimage to a Marian shrine and begged the Lord for a child. Their son, St. John Eudes, left to the world the liturgy used for the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 1, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 4, 1997