Memorial of Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church
1st Reading: Ezk 24: 15-24; Gospel Reading: Mt 19: 16-22
The fundamental Christian vocation is to be Holy as the heavenly Father is Holy (Lev 11:44; Lev 20: 26; Deut 23: 14; 1 Pet 1: 15). It is an invitation to share in the nature of God Himself. But, how is it possible for us, simple finite beings, to share in the nature of God? It is here that Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, becomes the way, truth and the life (Jn 14: 6). It is in following Jesus radically or in imitating Him profoundly that we have the way for fulfilling our fundamental vocation. This journey requires not a partial dedication, but an absolute commitment. It is in living up to the standards set by God for us personally that we respond to this invitation.
The Gospel presents to us a youngster who desired to obtain the eternal life, by faithfully following all the commandments – the presumed way of the individual to fulfil the fundamental vocation. Bus, in contrast, Jesus demands something more from him. A radical follower should be able to accept this demand and be willing to commit oneself to it. Unfortunately, the youngster was not ready for it (Mt 19: 22).
In our life too, it is not in what we decide to be the way to be a radical follower of Christ, but in discerning how God wants us to be His follower and committing ourselves to it that we become a real disciple. “Lord, I have done do much, give me eternal life” will no more be an acceptable claim in the sight of God. Rather, “Lord, what more do You want me to do?” will be an apt response to the beautiful invitation to share in His nature.
The first reading of the day presents prophet Ezekiel as a perfect example in this regard. God uses him as a sign of all that would happen to the people of Israel – by taking away his wife too (Ezk 24: 18). He accepts and executes. Let us become another Ezekiel for the world of today