Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Bernard, Abb. D., (20th August, 2021) on the Gospel and the Memorial
Ps 145:5-10. (R. v. 2);
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – 20th August, 1153) was born of noble parentage in Burgundy, France. His pious parents sent him at an early age to a college at Chatillon. Fearing the snares and temptations of the world, he embraced the Cistercian Order. He was sent by his superior with twelve other monks to found a new monastery at Clairvaux. Saint Bernard was appointed Abbot. He founded numerous monasteries, composed a number of works and undertook many journeys for the honour of God. He refused several Bishoprics offered to him. Popes were governed by his advice. He was commissioned by Pope Eugene III to preach the second Crusade. In obedience to the Sovereign Pontiff he travelled through France and Germany, and aroused the greatest enthusiasm for the holy war among the masses of the population. The failure of the expedition raised a great storm against the saint, but he attributed it to the sins of the Crusaders. St. Bernard was eminently endowed with the gift of miracles.
Topic: Not just the greatest.
The Pharisees gathered and one of them, a lawyer asked Jesus, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He replied citing two scriptural passages,
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it. ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’ cf. Deut 6:5; Lev 19:18.
The concept of love many have seems to be very far from what Jesus demands. Although the word (love) often comes out of many mouths yet hatred keeps escalating. And we always have thousands of reasons why we do not love others as Jesus commanded.
Jesus asks us to love others as He loves us, cf. Jn 13:34. 15:12. Because of His love for us, He died for us while we were still sinners, (cf. Rom 5:8), ate from the same bowl with a traitor, (cf. Matt 26:23; Mk 14:18), and even washed his feet, cf. Jn 13:5-12. Jesus set these as examples for us to follow, cf. Jn 13:15.
Love therefore is not just the greatest of all the commandments but also the hardest. It is unconditional and can only be found in God who is love, cf. 1Jn 4:8, 16. The best one can find elsewhere are just reflections of love. Although true love is truly the hardest of all the commandments, with God it is possible, cf. Lk 18:27. Whoever wants to truly love must do so in God.
Bible Reading: Rom 5:6-8, 31-39.
Thought for today: God is love (1Jn 4:16).
Let us pray: May God who is love transform us into loving beings – Amen.
Saint Bernard – Pray for us.
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