thursday 20 August 2020
St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – 1153)
He was born in France. In 1112 he joined the new monastery at Cîteaux. Within three years he had been sent out to found a new monastery at Clairvaux, in Champagne, where he remained abbot for the rest of his life. By the time of his death, the Cistercian Order had grown from one house to 343, of which 68 were daughter houses of Clairvaux itself.
Filled by the Lord with a spirit of understanding, blessed Bernard ministered streams of clear teaching to the people of God.
O God, who made of the Abbot Saint Bernard a man consumed with zeal for your house and a light shining and burning in your Church, grant, through his intercession, that we may be on fire with the same spirit and walk always as children of light. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: Ezekiel 36:23-28
The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: ‘I mean to display the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned among them. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord–it is the Lord who speaks– when I display my holiness for your sake before their eyes. Then I am going to take you from among the nations and gather you together from all the foreign countries, and bring you home to your own land. I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed; I shall cleanse you of all your defilement and all your idols. I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead. I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws and sincerely respect my observances. You will live in the land which I gave your ancestors. You shall be my people and I will be your God.’
R/ I shall pour clean water over you and all your sins will be washed away.
- A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, nor deprive me of your holy spirit.
- Give me again the joy of your help; with a spirit of fervour sustain me, that I may teach transgressors your ways and sinners may return to you.
- For in sacrifice you take no delight, burnt offering from me you would refuse, my sacrifice, a contrite spirit. A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.
Gospel Acclamation: Ps 118:27
Alleluia, alleluia! Make me grasp the way of your precepts, and I will muse on your wonders. Alleluia!
Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14
Jesus began to speak to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding. He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they would not come. Next he sent some more servants. “Tell those who have been invited” he said “that I have my banquet all prepared, my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding.” But they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them. The king was furious. He despatched his troops, destroyed those murderers and burnt their town. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy, go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding.” So these servants went out on to the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests. When the king came in to look at the guests he noticed one man who was not wearing a wedding garment, and said to him, “How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?” And the man was silent. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’
Prayer over the Offerings
We offer to your majesty, O Lord, the Sacrament of unity and peace, as we celebrate the Memorial of the Abbot Saint Bernard, a man outstanding in word and deed, who strove to bring order and concord to your Church. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Jn 15: 9
As the Father loves me, so I also love you; remain in my love, says the Lord.
Prayer after Communion
May the food we have received, O Lord, as we honour Saint Bernard, work its effect in us, so that, strengthened by his example and instructed by his teaching, we may be caught up in love of your incarnate Word. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
The first guests who were invited to the banquet are the Jews. Those who came later were the Gentiles. Being invited is one thing and coming as one properly invited is another. this is what honouring an invitation means. One of the people was not dressed in a wedding garment. The garment is that of Love and Gratitude. The invitation or call may come to us any time. It is a personal invitation. It is God who finds us and tells us: «Come to the wedding! ». And we have to receive this invitation with words and facts. This is why that guest who was not properly dressed is thrown out: «Friend, how did you get in without the wedding garment? »