Sunday, January 15, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “What we love we shall grow to resemble.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

The power of God abounds in the readings of today.

First, Isaiah speaks of the servant through whom the glory of God is shown. God forms his servant from the womb; God’s strength is revealed through him. Through him, the relationship of Israel and Jacob is restored with God. You will be a light to the nations.

Then Paul speaks of being called to be apostle, called to holiness, and one who now calls upon the name of the Lord.

The Gospel highlights John the Baptist, who recognizes and proclaims that: “Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

Jesus is the one who pre-existed. Jesus is the one to be proclaimed to Israel. Jesus is the one on who the Spirit rests. Jesus is the Son of God.

Through these scriptures, God’s power bursts forth as he calls, sanctifies, sends, strengthens, forms, and gives light and redeems.

Who are the recipients of this power of God? They are Jesus, Isaiah, Paul, and you and I — indeed, all of the baptized.

As we come back to Ordinary Time in the church year, we are called to see that the extraordinary power of God becomes ordinary every day in our lives. God wishes to love and empower us and to bring his love into the world through us.

We are true apostles, servants, and sons and daughters of God. God does not hold back. He gives to us the greatest dignity in our call and baptismal faith. His will is that peace, justice and love will reign in his kingdom; he invites us to be the instruments to bring it about.

Our greatest and simplest response might be the refrain of the responsorial psalm today: “Here am I, Lord, I come to do your will.”

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

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “There are people who go clad in tunics and have nothing to do with furs who, nevertheless, are lacking in humility. Surely, humility in furs is better than pride in tunics.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

Epiphany comes from the Greek word epiphaneia (ἐπιφάνεια), which signifies a manifestation or appearance of a god, or of divine intervention or the appearance of kings.

The magi went out to find out about this new god or king and began a difficult journey.

This Gospel manifestation recalls the appearance of Jesus the Christ; it also highlights a comparison between the characters of the magi and Herod.

The magi were pilgrims — seekers. They were searching our a truth they had discovered in the stars. They went on this pilgrimage, and when they entered the home of the Holy Family, found their gift and reward, their souls’ longing.

They offered their gifts quietly, slipped away, went home by a new route, and through it all, discovered a new way within their hearts and souls. These events brought them new life and new understandings.

Herod, on the other hand, was a man of power. Through his power and his armies and his money and his political position, he had established a home (his kingdom) and did everything to protect and preserve it.

He didn't want to share it; he didn't want it usurped. He didn't want to risk losing any of it and, therefore, his only option was to stamp out, eradicate, get rid of, and destroy the child Jesus.

There could be no other king, no other threat to his life.

What a difference between the two: seekers of truth; a liar promising to go and do him homage, but really intending to kill him. Offering gifts of homage and recognition; using any means to protect my kingdom and my wealth and my power.

The Gospel presents a manifestation, and in the light of its truth, reveals the hearts of very different kinds of people: the magi and Herod.

What does the star, the light, reveal to us? Do we discover any new truths about us, about God, about others? Do we bring our gifts, and in the giving, discover that we have been far more gifted?

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

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “The three most important virtues are humility, humility, and humility.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

Four celebrations are wrapped into one today.

Formerly, today’s feast was called “The Octave of Christmas.” It was also known as the Feast of the Circumcision, since on the eighth day after Jesus’ birth he was circumcised according to Jewish custom and law.

Since 1967, this has been designated the World Day for Peace. What day could be better than the first day of the new year to pray and yearn for peace throughout the world, just after celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace?

But, finally, the church focuses most keenly on Mary, with this being one of the most important of her feast days, since it so clearly gives her the title that was bestowed upon her by God.

Mary was called by God to be the mother of God by her invitation to birth the Christ.

Every time we pray the Hail Mary, we say the words: “Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.”

We esteem and honor Mary for the singular privilege given to her by the call to bring God in the person of Jesus into the world in the Feast of Incarnation — Christmas.

This feast is the reason she has such a place of honor in our lives as Christians. Honored so divinely by God, she is super humanly honored by us.

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

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Even the holy men who lived before the coming of Christ understood that God had in mind plans of peace for the human race.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

There are four distinct sets of readings for the Solemnity of Christmas: Vigil Mass, Mass at Night, Mass at Dawn and Mass at Day.

Although the readings are very different, there is something they all have in common. Clearly, God entered into our world and our lives, and things, as they say, would never be the same.

Promises and expectations of peace and healing, forgiveness, hope and grace in great measure came into our world. What happened in that manger was a bursting into our world and consciousness of the presence of God into our humanity.

To be sure, it is beyond anything we could fully understand, a mystery in the truest sense of the word. It is no surprise that we have four sets of readings, as if one would do.

We look at this moment in time promised by God as the greatest mystery, full of grace, that broke death and sin, bringing life and grace.

Emmanuel! God with us!

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

Thursday, December 22, 2016

St. Bernard Catholic School 2016 Christmas Concert

St. Bernard Catholic School students present their 2016 Christmas Concert!

St. Bernard Catholic School students performed their annual Christmas concert on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016.

Students in grades one to eight performed such classics as "Jingle Bell Rock," "Silent Night," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," and "Mi Burrito Sabanero," among others, under the direction of Jerry Islas, director of music and choir.

The show also featured a performance of the school's after school program. Sound Art, under the direction of Lincoln Mendell.
   

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “What we love we shall grow to resemble.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

Unplanned pregnancies are almost always more than just a surprise; often, they are shocking and difficult to deal with, especially for a couple that is not married. It can often fill them with fear and uncertainty.

It is, therefore, rather comforting to know that Joseph and Mary were no different. Although they were betrothed, they were not married. Joseph was prepared to end the relationship; but a biblical wonder occurred, a revelation from God.

In a dream, an angelic visitation put Joseph at ease by going to the root cause of his problem — fear. The angel told Joseph: “Do not be afraid.”

Fear can so easily block our vision, cloud our thinking, damage our courage, prevent us from becoming our best self. Joseph awoke from his dream with more resolve than ever, and this pregnancy became, as most eventually do, a blessing that would change not only Joseph and Mary’s lives but ours, too.

Is fear a predominant reality in our lives? Are we controlled by fear? Are we able to recognize our fears? Are we willing to allow the angelic revelations calling us to not be afraid to bring us to peace and trust and allow our fears to turn into blessings?

Again, we come to realize that God is in all, works through all, and can take the surprising and shocking realities of our lives and make them grace-filled blessings.

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

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “The rivers of Grace cannot flow uphill, up the steep cliff of the proud man's heart.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

Gaudete” means “rejoice” in Latin. Traditionally, the Third Sunday of Advent has been called Gaudete Sunday, because our Advent journey has almost come to an end.

There is always joy when one comes closer to reaching the goal, or arriving at the destination. But isn’t it more than just coming to the end? What happened to us along the way? Was there any change? Is our goal or destination the point of this journey, or is the journey itself the important thing?

If we have been listening to God’s word these days, we have heard a lot about justice and peace. We have understood that something or someone has changed the universe forever. We have understood how deeply loved we are by God and that this divine visitation has forgiven and healed everyone and everything.

The journey of faith stands beside a bustling holiday season. One says, “Buy, buy, buy,” and accumulate as much as you can, then get more. It's never enough! The other says: “Let go, simplify, empty yourself, embrace silence and peace, open.”

One distracts and clutters. The other focuses and prepares us to receive love and meaning deep within the spirit.

It is a great time. It is a great season. Everyone enters in different ways and to different degrees. It’s all good, but there is something that is greatest here. It has been the journey. It continues. It is near its end.

There is more grace and love to go around.

“Gaudete — rejoice!” We say it together this Sunday.

Together, may we discover what the journey has been about. Together, may the journey helps us to discover who we have become.

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

Saturday, December 10, 2016

St. Bernard Christmas schedule, 2016

During these weeks of Advent, the church has urged us to make the journey to the birth of the Lord.

By prayer, penance, and works of charity, we seek to be ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Please join our parish family for the special liturgies by which we experience the great love of God for us.

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

Liturgies for Christmastime and New Year's Day


MASSES

December 21 (Simbang Gabi)
7 p.m. Mass in English

Refreshments, games and “pabitin” will be held in the parish hall after Mass. For more information, call Maria Obrero at (323) 221-4321.

December 24 (Christmas Eve)
5 p.m.: Vigil Mass and children's liturgy in English
Midnight: Christmas midnight Mass in English and Spanish

The Christmas midnight Mass will be preceded by a concert of sacred Christmas music, performed by the St. Bernard Chancel Choir, at 11:30 p.m.

December 25 (The Nativity of the Lord)
8 and 9:30 a.m.: Mass in English
11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.: Misa en español

There will be no evening Mass on Christmas Day.

January 1, 2017
8 and 9:30 a.m.: Mass in English
11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.: Misa en español

PENANCE SERVICES

December 13
7 p.m. on  at St. Ignatius Church (322 N. Ave. 61, Los Angeles)

December 15
7 p.m. at Divine Saviour Church (610 Cypress Ave., Los Angeles)

Special events


CONCERTS

December 13 (St. Bernard Catholic School Christmas concert)
7 p.m. in the church

All are invited to attend the St. Bernard Catholic School Christmas Concert, presented by students of St. Bernard Catholic School. Admission is free.

December 24 (Chancel Choir Christmas concert)
11:30 p.m. in the church

Everyone is invited to attend a concert of sacred Christmas music, presented by the St. Bernard Church Chancel Choir, under the direction of Katherine White. Admission is free.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary Mass Homily on Thursday, December 8, 2016

By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

Watch the VIDEO



"You and I are supposed to be like Mary," Father Perry tells us in his homily for our 7 p.m. Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mass. "She's model of the church, model of every Christian. "The singular privilege that she had to bring Christ into the world has been shared with us. She models perfectly. But that's our role, to follow her as an example. We do it best when live the Gospel."

Download the AUDIO

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “The three most important virtues are humility, humility, and humility.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

“Eschatology” is a term that refers to the “end times” and the future glory that awaits those who are faithful to God’s gift of salvation.

It includes Christ’s second coming but refers also to the end of time, the final judgment, the resurrection of everyone and everything that is gathered together by the creator to share forever in divine glory.

It is not terrible but rather the most awesome of all things to come.

The first coming of Christ (which we celebrate in Christmas) already ushered in these eschatological times. The kingdom of God has already begun in the birth of Christ and is already here. But the fullness of this kingdom of God is yet to be fully realized – that will be in his second coming.

What happens in between? In between is where we are. John the Baptist understood his critical role to announce the first coming of Christ. An equally critical role falls to us to announce the second coming of Christ.

And even though we cannot pinpoint a day or exact time, nevertheless, we continue to proclaim the kingdom that is here and now and the fullness of that kingdom to come. We do so because our lives become a testimony to our belief in the kingdom; living the Gospel gives us a beginning share in the glory of that kingdom. Sharing that glory actually makes the kingdom to grow within us, through us and around us.

We are critical players in both the announcing of and living out this kingdom of God. If we don’t live it and share it, we lessen it. If we live it and share it, it thrives and blesses in the now.

John said: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

We have been baptized in his Spirit. We are anointed in the Lord. We share in his kingdom and proclaim it with our lives. We even receive him and are nourished by him as the bread of life and as our cup of salvation.

Is this time not anointed? Is this time not one to be proclaimed? Do we not share the privilege of John?

He announced the first coming.

We announce the second.

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