Saturday of the 20th week in the ordinary time

Theme: The gifts of God

Today the church celebrates the memorial of St. Bernard, Abbot and doctor of the church. He was a monk, a renowned preacher and also a theologian. He was able to influence people positively through his preaching and writings; he emphasized renewal and holiness of life. He was able to bring about reconciliation among disputing parties and restored peace. In view of this, one can confidently say that the gifts given to St. Bernard by God were not a waste; but rather he used his gifts to the glory of God. One thing that is obvious my brothers and sisters in Christ, is the fact that every individual has his or her own gift from God.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, the big question today is, what are you doing with the gift God has given you? St. Bernard used his own gift to the glory of God and we celebrate him today as a church. We are all encouraged today as we celebrate St. Bernard to make good use of the gifts that God has given to us, for the good of others and to the glory of God. We all have all it takes to be fruitful, but we must put our self-interest behind us and think about the common good; just like the saint we celebrate today. It is never too late for us to make that bold step that can bring about the desired change. Make that decision today and the grace of God will be sufficient for you.

In the gospel reading of today, the assertion of Jesus should challenge all of us as Christians. The Scribes and the Pharisees do not practice what they preach,  and Jesus was not comfortable with it. My brothers and sisters in Christ, are we any different from the Scribes and Pharisees? This is a question that we all have to answer as individuals. It is an invitation for all of us as children of God to make honest and sincere effort to live what we preach in our daily lives. Harmony between the word of God that we preach and our lived experience will easily help us to enthrone the kingdom of God here on earth; while the disparity will bring about doubt and confusion.

I pray that through the intercession of St. Bernard whose feast we celebrate today, that we will live what we preach. May almighty God bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Peace be with you.

Memorial of St. Bernard, by Fr. Jude Ifeanyi Ifezime, C.S.Sp