Gideon’s Doubts

Reflection from Sr. Rosemary Finnegan, O.P.
Readings from:

Who is this person, Gideon, whom we heard about in the first reading?  Gideon was a young Jewish man who lived in a time when many of the Israelites were once again disobeying God.  They were also being overtaken by another nation, the Midianites, who were capturing the crops they produced, destroying their homes and villages, and in general, endangering their lives.  The Israelites felt helpless and hopeless.

Finally, the Jewish people began to realize their wrongdoing against God and cried out passionately to the Lord for help. God, hearing their cries and responding with mercy, sent an angel to Gideon. The angel found Gideon hiding in his wheat field because Gideon was so fearful of the Midianites.  I love Gideon’s response when the angel of the Lord greeted him saying: ‘The Lord is with you”.  Gideon, showing skepticism, replied: “If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?”

But the angel persisted and, despite Gideon’s doubts, told Gideon that God is sending him to save Israel from the Midianites.  And, indeed, after many initial misgivings, Gideon did consent. Gideon became a great leader of the people, destroyed the pagan gods’ altar, and eventually united the Israelites against their enemy because of his belief in God’s power.

Despite his fear in the beginning, Gideon was used by God in a significant way. The Lord transformed his heart and his life into something powerful and amazing. All throughout the Scriptures, God uses many others who seemingly don’t have what it takes to be a great leader and follower, like:

  • Moses, a shepherd and murderer, who delivered God’s people to the Promised Land.
  • Esther, a slave, who delivered Israel from sure destruction also.
  • Matthew, a spurned tax collector, who became one of our gospel writers.

Today we have the honor of celebrating another special person whom God used for his plan of salvation: Mary, a simple peasant girl who became the Mother of God.  Mary was humble yet profound, gentle yet strong, meek yet glorified by God!  As Queen Mother of God, Mary wants us to turn to her with childlike faith and trust.  This feast of the Queenship of Mary was established by Pope Pius in 1954 and is now celebrated one week after the Feast of her Assumption.

God used Our Blessed Mother, and many other unlikely people in Scripture and society down through the years, for His good purposes, despite any fears, reluctance or apprehensions they may have had.  May we learn from Mary, Gideon and all the others, to rely on God with humble faith as God uses us for his glory.  God will accomplish great things through us when we follow God’s loving guidance with trust.