Saturday 20 th august 2022
(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 43:1-7
The angel took me to the gate, the one facing east. I saw the glory of the God of Israel approaching from the east. A sound came with it, like the sound of the ocean, and the earth shone with his glory. This vision was like the one I had seen when I had come for the destruction of the city, and like the one I had seen on the bank of the river Chebar. Then I prostrated myself. The glory of the Lord arrived at the Temple by the east gate. The spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; I saw the glory of the Lord fill the Temple. And I heard someone speaking to me from the Temple while the man stood beside me. The voice said, ‘Son of man, this is the dais of my throne, the step on which I rest my feet. I shall live here among the sons of Israel for ever.’
R/ The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.
- I will hear what the Lord God has to say, a voice that speaks of peace, peace for his people and his friends. His help is near for those who fear him and his glory will dwell in our land.
- Mercy and faithfulness have met; justice and peace have embraced. Faithfulness shall spring from the earth and justice look down from heaven.
- The Lord will make us prosper and our earth shall yield its fruit. Justice shall march before him and peace shall follow his steps.
Gospel Acclamation : Ps118:36,29
Alleluia, alleluia! Bend my heart to your will, O Lord, and teach me your law. Alleluia!
Gospel : Matthew 23:1-12
Addressing the people and his disciples Jesus said, ‘The Scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practise what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they! Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi. ‘You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.’
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 issue of humility is clearly presented at the end of the text. Christ describes societal gestures that we find very normal and that we can easily classify as acts of politeness. Giving a place of honour; what could be more normal in a society as stratified as ours? One would start by noticing that even in our churches, seats are often offered according to the posture of the person, on pain committing a crime of lèse majesté. The reverse is also true. When men of the Church are in administrative services, they want politeness to be returned to them and, above all, they want to be served with the utmost diligence. We want our titles (Father, Master, Lord) to suffer no diminution. And God only knows how much more the counter-testimony marks consciences, while wanting to engrave itself in a definitive way.