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Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)
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. Amen.
The angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite. While his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press to save it from the Midianites, the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, O champion!” Gideon said to him, “My Lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are his wondrous deeds of which our fathers told us when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ For now the Lord has abandoned us and has delivered us into the power of Midian.” The Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have and save Israel from the power of Midian. It is I who send you.” But Gideon answered him, “Please, my lord, how can I save Israel? My family is the lowliest in Manasseh, and I am the most insignificant in my father’s house.” “I shall be with you,” the Lord said to him, “and you will cut down Midian to the last man.” Gideon answered him, “If I find favor with you, give me a sign that you are speaking with me. Do not depart from here, I pray you, until I come back to you and bring out my offering and set it before you.” He answered, “I will await your return.”
So Gideon went off and prepared a kid and a measure of flour in the form of unleavened cakes. Putting the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out to him under the terebinth and presented them. The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and unleavened cakes and lay them on this rock; then pour out the broth.” When he had done so, the angel of the Lord stretched out the tip of the staff he held, and touched the meat and unleavened cakes. Thereupon a fire came up from the rock that consumed the meat and unleavened cakes, and the angel of the Lord disappeared from sight. Gideon, now aware that it had been the angel of the Lord, said, “Alas, Lord God, that I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” The Lord answered him, “Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die.” So Gideon built there an altar to the Lord and called it Yahweh-shalom.
or R. Alleluia
I will hear what God proclaims;
the Lord—for he proclaims peace
To his people, and to his faithful ones,
and to those who put in him their hope. R.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven. R.
The Lord himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps. R.
Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich
so that by his poverty you might become rich. 2 Cor 8:9
Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
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. Amen.
As the Father loves me, so I also love you;
remain in my love, says the Lord. Jn 15:9
Prayer after Communion
May the food we have received, O Lord,
as we honor 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. Amen.
Daily Meditation: Judges 6:11-24
Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die. (Judges 6:23)
How about looking at Gideon’s story from a different perspective today? Let’s take it as a sort of case study in dealing with anxiety.
Gideon was probably no stranger to worry. After all, he lived in enemy-occupied territory. He wasn’t a prominent member of his tribe either. Just an ordinary man trying to eke out a living. In fact, Gideon’s opening scene is a picture of tense nerves—he’s holed up in a winepress, trying to protect his crops from the Midianites. Later, when God told him to deliver Israel, Gideon understandably fretted over his lack of qualifications. It took three miraculous signs from God to help him overcome all his doubts.
But God was always there to help calm Gideon’s fears. He visited Gideon in his makeshift hideout. Twice he told Gideon, “I am with you.” He patiently gave him all the signs he asked for. By the end of the reading, we see how far Gideon had come: he named his altar “Yahweh-shalom,” meaning “the Lord is peace” (Judges 6:24).
Many of us can relate to Gideon’s struggles with anxiety. Everyone has worries: children, money, health, or a host of other concerns. Many people suffer from severe anxiety and need counseling and medical treatment. But whether our anxieties are major or minor, we can all learn something from Gideon’s story.
First, it’s okay to hide out every now and then. When we feel anxiety rising, we can pause, take a deep breath, and turn our attention to the Lord—even if it’s just for a few seconds. This holy and safe space is always available to us. With a little practice, our “hiding place” can become a momentary refuge where, with the Lord’s help, we gain a new perspective on our concerns.
Next, Gideon’s story helps us stand firm in faith. Even if we can’t feel or hear him, we can trust that God is with us, offering his grace. He is always ready to “speak of peace” with us (Psalm Reponse).
Finally, peace comes when we respond with worship. It’s no coincidence that Gideon’s peace was connected to the act of building the altar. For us, just saying “Thank you, Jesus” or “I love you, Jesus” can go a long way toward settling our hearts.
“Lord Jesus, you are my peace!”
Psalm 85:9, 11-14
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