Memorial of Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church
Some time ago there was a TV detective from New York named Kojak, whose trademark line was: “who loves ya, baby?”
Today the Church celebrates St. Bernard, a man who so loved God, the Mother of God, and his own friends, that when he entered monastic life, he brought with him a veritable army of friends. In this love of friendship, St. Bernard showed himself a natural shepherd, one whose care for others was so palpable they would follow him anywhere, indeed, right out of this world!
The prophet Ezekiel excoriates the leadership of Israel for using the flocks entrusted to them for their own advantage – eating the sheep! – rather than leading them to safe pasture. And so, when God comes to earth, He will manifest Himself to the shepherds who are out in the fields on cold nights watching their flocks, and not to the religious leadership, fat and at home in their warm beds. And the sheep will follow the Good Shepherd, for they will recognize His voice.
People respond to love, and they know when they are loved (and when they are not). Perhaps the great question we should ask ourselves as we move into the “new evangelization” is whether we are making the love of God known in ways that are palpable. In the end, we live by love, for we are made for love: the One who loves us, baby!