Thursday, XX Week of Ordinary Time, Year A

Saint Bernard, Pray for Us

Readings: 1st: Ez 36:23-28; Ps: 2250; Gos: Mt 22:1-14

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today, the Thursday of the twentieth week of ordinary time, the church honors a great saint, Bernard, Abbot and Doctor.

Bernard of Clairvaux, was born in 1090 in France. At the age of 20, he joined the monastic community of Citeaux. Later, he founded the monastery of the Abbey of Clairvaux.

As a man of deep and excellent spirituality, he became the Abbot. He also founded other monasteries. He wrote many books, and humbly refused many bishoprics offered to him.

Bernard died at the age of 63. He was canonized by Pope Alexander III in 1174, and declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius VIII in 1830.

In today’s gospel, Christ used the parable of the wedding feast to teach us that God invites us all to his kingdom for a banquet.

The most important lesson in today’s gospel is that, for different reasons, many people have rejected God’s invitation.

The reason is simple! We are too busy to come to his banquet, there is no time for prayer, but we have time for the mundane. The consequences include suffering, pain, starvation, poverty, and afflictions.

However, the good news is that, after his chosen ones rejected his invitation, he changed the invitation from: “strictly by invitation, and only for the chosen race” to, everyone is cordially invited!”

Why was someone thrown out? The matter of the wedding garment is instructive. The man refused to wear the garment provided for the banquet and this was a gross insult to the king.

Just as the king provided wedding garments for his guests, God provides faith and salvation for mankind. He has made these available to us, in and through Christ Jesus free of charge.

So, refusal to wear them means, missing the banquet. This is because, on God’s mountain, there will be decorum, good disposition, and obedience.

So, in response to this invitation, let us sing: “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my enemies.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and in the Lord’s own house shall I dwell forever and ever (Ps 23).

Saint Bernard, Pray for Us

Peace be with you.

Maranatha!

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