“Has such a thing ever happened from the day the Israelites came up from the land of Egypt to this day?” Judges 19:30
As we conclude the Book of Judges today, we see a summary of the disorder that grew over the first two centuries of Israelite life in Canaan. Little by little they slipped away from their obligations to the covenant, summarized in the gruesome crime committed in Gibeah of Benjamin, and how it caused the near extinction of the Benjaminite clan. How did the Israelites come to such a state? Like any of us, they did not wake up one morning and choose to turn to such abhorrent behavior and willingly move down a path of self-destruction. It began with little things, that moved them away from the covenantal laws given them by God. We too can fall prey to our devices if we stray away from daily committing ourselves to God and His law. How do we find this in our own lives, and in our society?
At the same time, we find here a light into the extent of God’s mercy. For, as the clan of the Benajaminites were on the verge of being wiped out, they were spared. It’s a good thing too, because it is from Gibeah of Benjamin that the first king of Israel, Saul, will later come. Is it for this reason that the nation was spared? It helps us to ponder how is it that God brings good from evil.
Today, let us reflect upon the triggers in our own lives, the weak points, that can lead us down destructive paths, and where have we seen God’s merciful hand guide us back into the fulness of His love. May we also appreciate the gifts that Jesus gave to His Church in the Sacraments of Reconciliation (come back to me) and the Eucharist (intimacy with God), given to us to strengthen us along our spiritual journey in this life.
May God bless you.