What does it mean to be invited by God to serve the People of God? Perhaps, Gideon, one of the judges of Israel and St. Peter can help us with that question and offer some advice. Let us look at Gideon first. We are situated in the second part of the Bible after the Torah or Five Books called the Pentateuch. Judges is the second book of this second part and is a continuation of the book of Joshua up to the prophet Samuel. The time of the Judges was an unstable time for Israel. Judges 21:25 describes this well: “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” Gideon’s name means the one who thrashes or cuts down, or the warrior. He was one of the more positive among the twelve judges listed in the book and certainly was a hero in his victory over the Midianites with only three hundred men!
Gideon considered himself as a humble servant of God. This made him a great leader who worshipped the one God of Israel and drove out all idol worship from the land. He had listened to God’s messenger and accepted his role as judge. His full story covers chapter 6-8 in Judges. These chapters are among the most positive ones in the book of Judges. This book may have been written by Samuel, the first great prophet in the Bible after Moses. We can learn from him how to be humble servants of the Lord who accept our limits yet trust in God to do good things here on earth and to make it a better place because of our proper use of our gifts. God takes us where we are and if we cooperate with God’s invitation our lives are transformed into servant leaders of God for the sake of the kingdom here on earth.
Like Peter, the apostle, we often ask the Lord what is in it for us if we follow you and your commandments. Jesus answers Peter’s question by telling him that if one has ordered one’s relationships and puts them under our relationship with God then we are like Peter and Gideon and will be good leaders who are rewarded by the Lord. God should always be our top-priority in our relationships. We may not be called to rule or judge the twelve tribes as Gideon did or as Jesus and the apostles did. We will, however, be one with the Lord and part of the Mystical Body of Jesus who is the head while we are the members of that sacred body. Amen.
Gideon has a niche among those mentioned in chapter 11 of Hebrews, where every name mentioned is an inspiration and every character a miracle of grace. (H. Lockyer, All the Men of the Bible).
Father Bertrand Buby, S.M. obtained his licentiate in Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute and his doctorate in Marian Theology from the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton and is professor emeritus for the Religious Studies Department of the University of Dayton. He has taught Scripture and Marian theology and presently teaches Scripture at the Inernational Marian Institute (I.M.R.I). He is the author of the trilogy MARY OF GALILEE, and also of Mary Faithful Disciple, With a Listening Heart (Pslam commentary), a commentary on the Book of Revelation. Fr. Buby was past president of the Mariological Society of America and has written articles for the marian journal called Marian Studies. He is a member of the Pontifical International Marian Academy (P.A.M.I.) and lives with ten other Marianists near the University of Dayton. Vist marypage.org. for more information.