Sunday, March 26, 2017

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor 

Quote of the Week: “Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, faith looks up.” — Anonymous.

The Second Scrutiny comes alive for our elect, as they reflect with the community upon real seeing; that is, seeing what occurs even deeper than seeing with our physical, human eyes.

You see (understand) that many who see (vision) with 20/20 sight are completely blind in the spirit. That kind of seeing (inner vision) requires openness of the spirit and a willingness to be children of the light.

True seeing is common to every faith. Interior blindness — lack of real sight or insight — happens when people close their spirit to the kind of truths that can only be known by the spirit.

In the story of the “Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a famous quote says it perfectly: “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”

The Gospel today provides us with the story of the man born blind and healed by Jesus. It is a story of seeing and blindness. The double meanings go back and forth between physical and spiritual seeing, and physical and spiritual blindness.

The blind man has both kinds of blindness, but through healing receives both kinds of sight. The Pharisees have physical sight, but once again display their incredible spiritual blindness; they never see God’s work at hand before them. They never see that Jesus is Messiah and the fulfillment.

Rather, in their spiritual blindness, they condemn, ridicule, punish, and use the law as an excuse to hate and destroy. Nothing good comes from them in this story except by comparison; they show how God-filled are the actions of Jesus.

The climactic truth is finally expressed in the Pharisees’ own question before Jesus: “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”

Jesus said to them, “If you were blind (physical), you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ (while choosing spiritual blindness/stubbornness) so your sin remains.”

Why is seeing with the heart so difficult? Why do we resist? Why can’t we surrender? Why can’t we trust love rather than to trust fear?

Jesus puts one simple question to the man whose sight is restored: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

If our answer, like his, is yes, then we will see.

That yes, however, means that we believe in his teachings, his example, his way of life, his values, his surrendering to God, his unequivocal yes to loving always, his preference for the poor and marginalized, his refusal to be blind followers of the law.

Yes to Jesus is yes to seeing!

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Holy Week and Easter schedule, 2017

During these weeks of Lent, the church has urged us to make the journey to Holy Week and Easter.

By prayer, penance, and works of charity, we seek to be ready to celebrate the saving mysteries of our redemption in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection, of Jesus.

Please join our parish family for the special liturgies by which we will enter into these mysteries and experience the great love of God for us.

We wish you and you family a blessed Easter, filled with peace and joy.

April 9 | Palm Sunday


  • 5 p.m. | Saturday vigil Mass in English
  • 8 and 9:30 a.m. | Sunday Mass in English
    • Solemn blessing of palms and procession begins at 9:20 a.m.
  • 11 a.m. and 12: 30 p.m. | Sunday Mass in Spanish
    • Solemn blessing of palms and procession begins at 10:50 a.m.

April 10 | Monday of Holy Week


April 11 | Tuesday of Holy Week

  • 8 a.m. | Daily Mass in English

April 12 | Wednesday of Holy Week

  • 8 a.m. | Daily Mass in English
  • 7 p.m. | Mother of Perpetual Help Mass and novena

Holy Triduum

Called the Holy Triduum, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the three most sacred days of the year. These are days of quiet reflection and prayer for everyone, including our parish priests. 

Daily morning Mass at 8 will not be celebrated during the Holy Triduum; the 5 p.m. Saturday vigil Mass will not be celebrated on Holy Saturday. Daily morning Mass resumes at 8 a.m. on Monday, April 17.

April 13 | Holy Thursday
  • 7 p.m. | Mass of the Lord's Supper
    • Adoration until midnight in the parish hall

April 14 | Good Friday
  • 1 p.m. | Stations of the Cross
  • 2 p.m. | Solemn liturgy of the Lord's Passion, with holy communion in English
  • 4 p.m. | Living Stations of the Cross
  • 6 p.m. | Solemn Liturgy of the Lord's Passion, with holy communion in Spanish

April 15 | Holy Saturday
  • 8 p.m. | Easter vigil Mass in English and Spanish

April 16 | The Resurrection of the Lord
(Easter Sunday)

This is no ordinary day we celebrate. This is NOT just another day. "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad!"

  • 8 and 9:30 a.m. | Sunday Mass in English
  • 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. | Sunday Mass in Spanish

June 4 | Pentecost Sunday
  • 8 and 9:30 a.m. | Sunday Mass in English
  • 11 a.m. and 12: 30 p.m. | Sunday Mass in Spanish

June 5  | Ordinary Time resumes
  • 8 a.m. | Daily Mass in English

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

Quote of the Week: “A chip on the shoulder is the heaviest load anyone can carry.” — Anonymous.

This week, the catechumens throughout the church celebrate their first scrutiny; they take a close look at their inner life (scrutinize) and notice any things that are keeping them from following Christ completely.

In this examination, they make the choice to tear out of their lives the obstacles to following Jesus Christ completely.

The Gospel of the Samaritan woman at the well is the story that tells of a very deep and intimate conversation between herself and Jesus.

Jesus sees the woman and her life fully; he reveals inner truths to her that convinces her that he is a prophet. When she runs home to her townspeople she shares her newly discovered faith: “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?”

Their initial curiosity turns into a convinced faith after they meet the Lord. Their own words will finally reveal their conviction: “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

Is this not the journey of every Christian? Do we not have to have an experience of Jesus Christ that goes beyond liking or loving his words, his teachings, his way of life?

The woman of Samaria represents something inside each of us. When we begin to recognize God’s love for us that accepts us as we are with all of the good and bad choices we have made, then we begin to know her experience.

When who we are is more than what we have done or not done with our lives, we begin to appreciate this woman’s testimony.
Jesus shows to her understanding of her life. She experiences being known, being accepted.

Today, our catechumens take a good look at their lives; they open their lives up fully to the Lord as they admit their sins and obstacles to a full commitment of faith.

This scrutiny allows them to be like the woman at the well. They need to know that Jesus, indeed, tells them everything about their lives and still loves them, still accepts them.

They need an experience of the savior of the world that is personal, intimate and real.

This is what turns an admiration for a faith into a fully lived and transforming faith. We are all that woman at the well. This is what makes a true disciple.

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Healing and reconciling during Lent

Healing and reconciliation are at the heart of our Christian life.

It is Jesus' call and gift to us.

Several priests will be available in special Penance/Reconciliation Services throughout our neighborhood during Advent so all can prepare for the birth of the Lord with a healed, reconciled and renewed heart.

This is time to clean house, to get rid of guilt and experience healing an renewal. All are welcome.

Penance services

March 31
7 p.m. at St. Dominic Church (2002 Merton Ave, Los Angeles)

April 3
7 p.m. at St. Bernard Church (2516 W. Ave. 33, Los Angeles)

April 4
7 p.m. at St. Ignatius of Loyola Church (322 N. Ave. 61, Los Angeles)

April 6
7 p.m. at Divine Saviour Church (610 Cypress Ave., Los Angeles)

Note: Confessions at St. Dominic will be at 6:30 p.m. every Friday.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

Quote of the Week: “A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.” — Anonymous.

“Listen! If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts! Listen!”

The Transfiguration of Matthew sends an important message not only to the disciples who shared the moment with Jesus, but to all of us – every Christian.

Jesus took three disciples with him up the mountain, the place where sacred things occurred; there they experienced God’s presence. Moses and Elijah appeared standing near Jesus. Immediately, Peter felt the need to do something; he wasn’t content or peaceful enough to just take in the experience, and it wasn’t enough to simply receive what God was clearly giving to them. He wasn’t aware that, in that moment, God was calling him.

So while Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them all. In fear, the disciples fell face down on the ground. A voice — the voice — of God spoke: “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”

Jesus then touched them saying: “Get up and do not be afraid.” When they did get up, they saw just Jesus.

What a scene, what a moment! The amazing and the ordinary stood side by side. Visions of prophets, a glorified transfiguration, bright lights, and voices, all streamed together to call the disciples deeper into the mystery of God revealed in Jesus.

This scene was calling the disciples to faith. Initially, they feared, because it really was too much. But at the gentle touch of Jesus, the disciples were once again called not to fear but to have faith.

This whole experience was a very deep call to enter more deeply into the unfolding mystery of Jesus who asked for the mystery to be fulfilled before they shared it with others.

How does this story call us? Do we ever experience the voice of God clearly speaking to us in the ordinary? Do we have mountaintop experiences in church, at work, in our family, with neighbors, with friends, or with enemies?

Do we find ourselves fearing, then being touched, only to discover we are being called to faith?

Grace is, indeed, amazing. God is always at work in all things. Faith leads us to see and understand in new ways; to be open, waiting, wanting, seeking is the attitude we need to experience those little mountaintop moments again and again.
Not fear, but faith!

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

Quote of the Week: “A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.” — Anonymous.

Lent begins.

Jesus, led by the Spirit, goes into the desert for 40 days and nights.

He fasts. He ends up hungry, vulnerable, weak, stripped of every comfort and support — he is spiritually and emotionally naked.

Now the devil comes. Now Jesus is tempted when he is least capable of depending upon his own strengths. This is high drama; everything is stacked against Jesus. Clearly, there is no way he can prevail.

To stand up against the temptations of the devil or evil in good times — when one is strong — is dangerous; and when one is weak and exposed, it's lethal. But this is high drama. The stage is set and, in the end, truth is predictable.

Jesus, from the first moments of his ministry, makes things quite clear. He has come to do his Father’s business. He depends upon the Father and trusts him in all things. He is never outside or removed from his Father’s care.

In the best biblical tradition, he sees God his Father as his stronghold, rock, safety, defense, life, and his all. So when faced with the devil’s temptations in the midst of weakness and vulnerability, Jesus does what makes sense and the only thing he can and will always do: He places all of his trust in God his Father.

He never falls for the easy way out. He never trusts in superficial comforts. He digs down into the deepest part of his spirit and clings to his faith in God his Father. He proclaims that there is more to life than bread, that one should never test God, and only God is deserving of worship. He is so utterly connected to God that temptation has no real chance with him.

We are asked, in faith, to attempt to experience the same during this Lent. We are invited to strip away comforts, lessen our dependence on things that make us feel good, and deny our use of whatever makes us feel safe and secure.

At the same time, we are called to follow the example of Jesus by digging down into our unprotected spirit and, alone and a little bit vulnerable and hungry, to place dependence on God and celebrate dependence on God.

We do it alone, as we do it (at the same time) with 1 billion Catholics on the face of the earth; ultimately, we must experience this deep within — alone — even while standing next to someone experiencing it alone, too.

God breathes his life into us, fills us with his Spirit, places us in the garden, gives us everything to eat and enjoy, and asks only one thing: “Do not eat of this tree.”

The stage is set for sin, grace, trust, obedience, temptation, and pride. Do we stand tall, or fall?

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

Quote of the Week: “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” — Corrie ten Boom

At many hospitals, police stations, and other local sites, one can often find a sign at the door that identifies the facility as an “Infant Drop Off Site.” That means, if you have an unwanted baby, and you are tempted to do the unthinkable like throw the baby in a trash can, you can drop off the infant without any questions or consequences; the baby will be given safe haven.

In today’s liturgy, Isaiah asks what he suggests is an unthinkable question: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?”

Even if the question were just rhetorical, he refuses to leave it unanswered, because his answer clearly admits that it happens. If he were living now, he would say: “That’s why we have Infant Drop Off Sites.”

So he admits: “Even should she forget, I will never forget you,” says the Lord.

Following that description of God’s love for us, the Responsorial Psalm encourages us to have absolute confidence in God: “Only in God is my soul at rest.”

Then, a flood of images through words fills our minds and hearts. We are told that God is: “Our rock; our salvation; my stronghold; my hope; my safety; my glory; my refuge; my strength.”

Resting in God alone – and finding in him salvation, hope and refuge – these images evoke a clear sense that God means for us to have a relationship with him.

God is not simply to be adored or worse, feared, like the gods of ancient Rome, Greece and other places. He does not want human sacrifices, nor does he destroy us in whimsical fashion. No; he seeks relationship. He offers love and peace. He invites us to find rest and confidence in relationship to and with him; therefore, we need not worry what we will eat or wear or have.

Birds don’t worry. Bees don’t worry. Lilies don’t spin clothes. It is all provided. Seek only relationship – his kingdom; trust in his love.

St. Augustine once said: “Pray as though everything depends upon God; then work, as though everything depends upon you.”

In this phrase he gave not just a reflection but a spirituality, a way of living. God has provided. God has offered love and relationship. We need not worry, but we have been given minds, bodies and strengths to do what needs to be done to reap what God has sown for us.

It’s there. You’re in it. It’s already done. A mountain of worry will not bring about an inch of prosperity.

Jesus asks the question: “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?”

And just as quickly he responds: “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them (food, clothes, etc.) all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.”

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

Friday, February 24, 2017

St. Bernard Ash Wednesday schedule

The St. Bernard Catholic Faith Community invites you to enter Lent with a spirit of prayer and penance.

In a particular way during Lent, we are asked to devote ourselves to the spiritual and corporal works of mercy that "remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbors in body and spirit."

"Lent is a favouable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ." — Pope Francis.


Liturgy of the word, with imposition of blessed ashes
The liturgy of the word, with imposition of blessed ashes, will be celebrated.

  • In the church:
    7 a.m.
  • In the Pastoral Center:
    Noon to 4 p.m.
  • In the parish hall:
    5 to 9 p.m.

Mass, with imposition of blessed ashes
Holy Mass, with imposition of blessed ashes, will be celebrated

  • In the church:
    8 a.m.


La liturgia de la palabra, con imposición de cenizas benditas
La liturgia de la palabra, con imposición de cenizas benditas, se celebrará.

  • En la iglesia:
    6 a.m., 4 a 7 p.m. y 8 a 9 p.m.

Misa, con imposición de cenizas benditas 
La santa Misa, con imposición de cenizas benditas, se celebrará.

  • En la iglesia:
    7 p.m.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

Quote of the Week: “I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate.” — George Burns

“There’s nothing new in this world” is a phrase often used to describe how the new is really old or, at best, it is the old dressed in new clothes.

One could argue, since we are in a technology age that people 100 years ago could never have imagined.

But in today’s scriptures, we hear words over 1,000 years old that are not new – far from it. They echoed in the ears, minds and hearts of every Jew and became part of what Jesus would describe as the most important commandment: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

But more than just an echo in his mind, this section from Leviticus is foundational and core to everything that Jesus preaches and teaches in Matthew’s Gospel.

Jesus, first of all, gives the reason for loving. It isn’t about getting praise or winning points or even doing things right. There is a reason and meaning that is so profound and fundamental that it goes to our very identity: “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.”

God, who is love and who loves all, always, in all ways, calls us to love in the same way; therefore, Jesus captures within his teaching that purity and totality of love which go far beyond what you have heard or what has been taught to you before.

Jesus repeats again and again: “You have heard that it was said ... but I say to you!” In each of these sayings, Jesus asks his disciples, and “all who have ears to hear,” to go way beyond the “righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees” and live the fulfillment of this love: “Offer no resistance to one who is evil; turn the other cheek; hand over your cloak as well; go for two miles; do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”

The best he saves for last: “Love your enemies; pray for those who persecute you.”

His reason is simple — that is what God does: “He makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” After all, even sinners love those who love them.

But Jesus asks more: “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect,” or quoting Leviticus: “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.”

There is another reason, perhaps a selfish one or at least self-serving, that is discovered when ones lives Jesus’ teaching. To “love like God loves” brings a peace, joy, contentment, harmony and holiness that is incomparable. It is as some would say: “living in God and God living in us”!

It might behoove us, the disciples of Jesus, to pay extra attention and trust when the master says those words: “But what I say to you is ...”.

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

Quote of the Week: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

When the scriptures utter things like: “Be holy, like your heavenly Father is holy,” what is it that they are saying?

A clear understanding emerges from the Gospel today.

The Sadducees and Pharisees fulfilled many roles and purposes in Jewish society: political, social, religious. Like anybody, they would at times lean left or right, or even be quite corrupt.

They often quarreled with Jesus, and he frequently disagreed publicly and strongly.

Today is such an example.

Whereas the Pharisees would pronounce the law and claimed to live it to the letter, in fact, Jesus accused them of side-stepping the law by their clever juridical understandings and explanations. They loved places of honor and respect and claimed to adhere strictly to the law.

The scriptures are cluttered with their accusations against Jesus for his blatant breaking of laws and commandments of the Lord, such as, healing on the sabbath.

Today, Jesus draws the line in the sand. He tells them clearly: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law of the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”

The Pharisees could recite the law; they knew it very well. It was their interpretation and especially their use of it to condemn others that particularly irked Jesus.

First, Jesus gave the complement: “whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven” — which the Pharisees clearly believe applied to them.

Then he dropped the bomb. Perhaps in his most straightforward condemnation of the Pharisees in all of the Scriptures, he spoke: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Then he proceeded to unveil what he had described as the fulfillment of the law: “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

The language is strong. He even speaks about “tearing out your eye” and “cutting off your right hand” should these be an occasion to sin. In Jesus’ concept of the fulfillment of the law, it went way beyond and far deeper than the extreme limit of the commandment: “You shall not kill.”

The fulfillment of the law calls us to love, reconcile, heal, and peacefully coexist with our neighbor.

Jesus sees the law as calling us to be holy as God is holy. To approach the holiness of God in the giving of gifts and sacrifices, Jesus even suggested leaving the gift at the altar if you recalled a division between yourself and your brother.

First, go reconcile. Then, come back and offer your gift: “I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.