Sunday, September 17, 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.

Don’t the words that litter the liturgy today speak for themselves? There are so many, both the negative and positive.

Beginning with the negative: “wrath,” “anger,” “hateful,” “sinner,” “vengeance,” “refuse,” “enmity,” “death,” “decay,” “iniquities,” “destruction,” “chide,” “requite.”

The positive side speaks, too: “forgive,” “healing,” “mercy,” “pardon,” “set aside,” “cease,” “overlook,” “compassion,” “redeems,” “kindness.”

The reading from Sirach alone, but also coupled with the psalm, overflows with words — words that speak to the power of forgiveness and healing that it brings.

One would think that no further words were needed to bring clarity to the concept of forgiveness and why it is necessary and essential to spiritual wholeness. Yet Jesus’ response to Peter’s question/answer pushes the point to its obvious conclusion, as he once again speaks of the kingdom and tells us the kingdom response that we need to learn and need to live.

In his story of the forgiven servant who does not learn the necessity of forgiving others, we see, as if through a mirror, the ugliness that ensues when one does not learn the lesson of forgiveness.

Indeed, to be forgiven is the best teacher. Once we have experienced it, we can never go back — at least, that is Jesus’ hope for us all.

To forgive, to be forgiven, then to forgive and be forgiven again, is the cycle that should never cease in our lives.

The kingdom of God is like this!

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.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Statement on President Donald J. Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program

Archbishop José H. Gómez
By Archbishop José H. Gómez

I am deeply disappointed by President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

I speak as a pastor not a politician. I cannot address the constitutional or political questions raised by this program. But as a pastor I think we need to clearly understand what this decision means. Today our country is announcing its intention to deport more than 800,000 young people. This is a national tragedy and a moral challenge to every conscience.

As Americans, we are a people of compassion. I do not believe this decision represents the best of our national spirit or the consensus of the American people. This decision reflects only the polarization of our political moment.

Americans have never been a people who punish children for the mistakes of their parents. I am hopeful that we will not begin now.

It is not right to hold these young people accountable for decisions they did not make and could not make. They came to this country through no fault of their own. They were brought here by their undocumented parents or family members when they were little children.

America is their home, the only country they have ever known. Most of them are working hard to contribute to the American dream — holding down jobs, putting themselves through college, some are even serving in our nation’s armed forces.

If we deport them, in many cases we would be sending them back to countries that they have not seen since they were infants or toddlers.

President Trump is right that immigration policy should be made by Congress, not by presidential executive order. Unfortunately, his action today may complicate the search for a legislative solution.

We need to remember that then-President Obama established the DACA program in 2012 because members of Congress could not get beyond their partisan self-interests to come together and fix our nation’s broken immigration system.

It is time for Congress to step up. If we are going to restore the rule of law in this country, then those who make the laws need to take responsibility. We should not allow still another Congress to go by without addressing our nation’s broken immigration system.

America is their home, the only country they have ever known. Most of them are working hard to contribute to the American dream — holding down jobs, putting themselves through college, some are even serving in our nation’s armed forces.


The situation is serious here in Los Angeles. We are home to more than 1 million undocumented persons, many of whom have been living and working here for decades. Nationwide, 790,000 young people have received deportation relief and work permits through DACA. Of those, 223,000 are living here in California, more than any other state.

For the Catholic Church, here in Los Angeles and throughout the nation, these are our people, our family. They are our brothers and sisters; our classmates and co-workers. We pray together and worship together. We will continue stand together as a family and the Church will continue to defend their rights and dignity as children of God.

I am praying today and urging our leaders in Washington to set aside their partisan differences and come together to pass legislation that would simply codify the existing DACA program.

Doing this would permanently lift the threat of deportation that right now hangs over the heads of more than 1 million hard-working young people. It would give them permission to work and it would bring peace of mind and stability to our communities.

This is a commonsense proposal and it should not be controversial.

As Americans, we are a people of compassion. I do not believe this decision represents the best of our national spirit or the consensus of the American people. This decision reflects only the polarization of our political moment.

Congressional leaders in both the House and Senate have expressed sympathy for these young people and expressed their desire that Congress should provide a permanent legislative solution. There is broad and overwhelming public support for DACA — not only among ordinary Americans but among corporate and civic and religious leaders. There should be no reason not to enact a simple bill that would make DACA the law of the land.

I am praying that Congress will rise to this moment and help these young people. And I am praying that finding a solution to DACA will mark the beginning of new work to seek immigration reform solutions in all areas: securing and protecting our borders; modernizing our visa system so we can welcome newcomers who have the skills our country needs to grow; and providing a compassionate solution for those who are undocumented and right now living in the shadows of our society.

Archbishop José H. Gómez is the fifth archbishop of Los Angeles. Reach Archbishop Gomez at (213) 637-7000, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “My sun sets to rise again.”  — Robert Browning.

“Paschal Mystery” is today’s word of God in two words.

It is expressed in several different ways. Jeremiah the prophet declares: “You duped me, O Lord; you triumphed; all the day I am an object of laughter; ... has brought me derision and reproach; I will speak his name no more — but then it becomes like fire burning in my bones.”

The psalm eloquently describes the yearning of the spirit for God and the emptiness without him: “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God; my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.”

The letter to the Romans pointedly challenges: “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.”

Then Jesus foretells his journey and the journey of every disciple: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me; whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

The Paschal Mystery involves dying, emptying, losing, finding, struggling, enduring, thirsting, longing, waiting, being rejected, and the cross. And all of this is about discovering more how to love, how to hope, how to give, how to live.

It would be foolish to think we can make it through this life without the cross. There is physical and emotional suffering, failure, the dashing of our hopes and dreams, betrayal and rejection, misunderstanding, loss of esteem and in the end, death itself.

Are these the crosses we all must bear? Is the cross bearing these struggles like Jesus did, without losing faith or hope in God, looking into the face of hatred and injustice with love and forgiveness, always discovering more within his spirit which could help him to find himself by losing himself?

Jesus models for us a limitless ability to trust and love and find life — even in dying.

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me; whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Are we ready to follow and live the life of the disciple? Are we ready to embrace the Paschal Mystery?

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, August 27, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “The first step towards change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”  — Nathaniel Brandon.

A true insight or new awareness should include logic and makes good sense, but more importantly is something deeply spiritual.

We can know facts and details for years without ever rising to the point of insight or new awareness. But when the light goes on and we discover the meaning of something (insight or awareness) we are usually changed in some fashion forever.

Today, Peter and the disciples are changed forever. Matthew, Mark and Luke record this conversation with Jesus and the disciples in which Peter comes to a new awareness. It is only in Matthew, however, that Jesus remarks that “flesh and blood has not revealed this truth to you but my heavenly Father.”

It is on this insight that Jesus proclaims Peter as rock, the one on whom the church is to be built and the new reality from which true forgiveness and reconciliation would flow.

True power — not control — would be shared from this understanding of Jesus, the Christ. True power from our relationship with the Christ – this is the reality that is our rich insight.

How many times have we experienced gifts, discoveries, beauty and wonders flowing out of friendship? It isn’t just knowing a person or simply having them as a friend (the fact of relationship); rather, it is in the unfolding and developing relationship that the goodness and gifts begin to emerge.

They often come through our misunderstandings, and the crashing of different ideas and tastes, and the struggles that come through hurts and letting go — the forgiveness and healing within relationships.

It is not surprising that the conversation between Jesus and Peter that will follow in the Gospel is the harshest statement that Jesus speaks to Peter in all of the Gospels: “Get behind me, Satan.”

The relationship is proclaimed, and then the biggest crashing of ideas happens. Yet Jesus is firmly committed to his friendship and love with Peter and the other disciples. He means to empower them with his love and truth. He means to guide and help them to grow even through confusion and sin — even betrayal.

How deep is his love for them. How deep is his love for us. Even in sin and our own little betrayals, Jesus is firmly committed to his friendship and love with us.

May this insight, this new awareness, grow within us that we may discover the power of Christ’s love within us each day.

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, August 13, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” —  Corrie Ten Boom.

When was the last time you heard God speak to you? Was it an audible voice? Did it come through Verizon? Or was it more like the experience of Elijah in the word of God today?

But even Elijah had some difficulty hearing the voice of God. He looked, or rather listened, and did not hear what he expected to hear? Nor did he find the voice where he thought it would obviously be.

Surely, it would be in the “strong and heavy wind” that was “rending the mountains and crushing rocks.” But it wasn’t there that he heard the voice. No doubt it would be in the “earthquake” or the “fire,” since these also were strong, powerful, mighty and quite impressive.

But no, it wasn’t there either that the voice of God was to be heard. The voice of God was only a whisper. The voice of God was in quiet and silence. The voice of God was profoundly not impressive yet spoke directly to Elijah’s heart.

But in the Gospel today the experience is quite the opposite. It is in the midst of a mighty wind on the lake that was tossing the boat in huge waves that Jesus came to the apostles and even invited Peter to walk across the stormy sea.

True, he faltered, but at Jesus’ beckoning he stepped into the rough waters and confidently (at first) began to walk to Jesus.

Fear, however, is a powerful thing, and it often overcomes our deepest convictions. Even then, Jesus reached out to Peter and pulled him back to safety.

When was the last time you heard God speak to you? Was it an audible voice? Did it come through Verizon? Are we looking only in the dramatic and powerful places?

Are we receptive to God everywhere in our lives? Is God present in our struggles, pain, disappointments, failures, silence, dramas, and sin?

Jesus asks Peter and ourselves very directly: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

And doubting is OK. We aren’t perfect. We are very human. We all experience fear. But, hopefully, we too will finally say: “Truly, you are the Son of God.”

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, August 6, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “The best proof of love is trust.” —  Joyce Brothers.

The disciples had a profound experience that went something like this, according to St. Matthew: Jesus was transfigured before their eyes; his clothes were shining bright.

Suddenly, the prophets Moses and Elijah were speaking with him. The disciples were apparently not afraid. Peter even said that it was good that they were there, experiencing this moment.

He offered to erect three tents one for each of the esteemed persons in this vision before him. But then things changed. Something more happened. Something filled them with fear and trembling. It was unmistakable. It was unthinkable. It was wonderful.

A cloud cast a shadow over them and a voice came from the cloud IT WAS GOD! But this voice delivered an interesting and inviting message: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”

God was pointing to Jesus in a unique and wonderful way; in doing so, he was offering the disciples an opportunity to recognize something glorious occurring before their eyes. Now they were afraid.

Why could they not accept this remarkable gift from God not in fear but in peace? Why could they not realize that this was perhaps a onetime gift that would never be repeated and, therefore, had to be savored and appreciated?

They were afraid, and Jesus told them not to be afraid. Typical Jesus: He reached out and touched them to reassure them and reached in to offer them peace.

Great lessons fill these scriptures today for us. Let us be alert and prepared for the unmistakable, the unthinkable, the wonderful.

Let us not be afraid to discover God alerting us to the presence of his Son in whom he is well pleased.

Let us not miss this opportunity of grace.

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, July 30, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.” — Albert Camus.

What would be worth so much to you that you would be willing to sell everything you own in order to posses it?

Good health, bringing someone back to life, being able to have a relationship with the love or your life, retrieving a child or family member being held against their will, freedom, justice?

Jesus tells us yet more parables about the kingdom of heaven. It is like a treasure hidden in a field – then one sells all they have to buy the field so they can have that treasure. And that person sells all that they have “out of joy.”

Or one sells all they have to buy the “pearl of great price.”

The kingdom of heaven is like a fisherman’s net collecting good and bad fish, then separating out the bad. And those instructed in the kingdom of heaven are like the head of a household who “brings from his household both the new and the old.”

These comparisons seem to be the best way that Jesus can describe the kingdom of heaven. He knows what these examples mean. A treasure, a beautiful pearl, fishing and getting a very mixed catch?

This kingdom is not the treasure or the pearl; it is like selling all you have with joy and selling all you have to be able to purchase, catch, choose and preserve the good.

The kingdom of heaven is dynamic and alive. The kingdom of heaven calls, compels, excites and causes us to make decisions and choices.

The kingdom of heaven illuminates all that we see and want. When the kingdom of heaven becomes alive in us, we find incomparable capabilities to love and to forgive.

The kingdom of heaven allows the cross-response we hear from Jesus’ lips: “Father, forgive them all, they know not what they do.”

The kingdom of heaven is an extraordinary gift to our inner spirit. When it engages us deep within our spirit, we can never be the same.

We are baptized to share in the role of Jesus Christ as priest, prophet and king.

The kingdom of heaven is planted within us in baptism and meant to sweep us up into the divine.

We pray today as always in the Lord’s prayer: “Thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

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.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Prayer Process



This is a process of prayer. I guarantee you those who do it will be changed. How can you not be?

1. Gratitude 

Begin by thanking God in a personal dialogue for whatever you are most grateful for today.

2. Awareness 

Revisit the times in the past twenty-four hours when you were and were not the-best-version-of-your-self. Talk to God about these situations and what you learned from them.

3. Significant Moments 

Identify something you experienced in the last twenty-four hours and explore what God might be trying to say to you through that event (or person).

4. Peace 

Ask God to forgive you for any wrong you have committed (against yourself, another person, or him) and to fill you with a deep and abiding peace.

5. Freedom 

Speak with God about how He is inviting you to change your life, so that you can experience the freedom to be the-best-version-of-yourself.

6. Others 

Lift up to God anyone you feel called to pray for today, asking God to bless and guide them.

7. Our Father

Pray the Our Father.

El Proceso de Orar




Matthew Kelly dice que bonito es tener un proceso de orar que puedan expresar lo que esta en su corazón.

1. Gratitud

Empieza dando gracias a Dios de una forma personal por aquello de lo que estás más agradecido hoy.

2. Consciencia 

Recuerda los momentos en que no fuiste la mejor versión de ti mismo durante las últimas 24 horas. Habla con dios sobre estas situaciones y sobre lo que has aprendido de ellas.

3. Momentos Significativos

Identifica alguna experiencia del día y examina lo que tal vez dios está tratando de decirte a través de ella.

4. Paz 

Pídele a Dios que te perdone por cualquier falta cometida (contra ti, tu prójimo o él) y que te colme de paz profunda y duradera.

5. Libertad 

Habla con Dios sobre como él te invita a cambiar tu vida, para que puedas experimentar la libertad de ser la mejor versión ti mismo.

6. El prójimo 

Eleva a Dios una oración por cualquier persona por quien creas que debes orar hoy, pidiéndole a Dios que la bendiga y guíe.

7. Padre Nuestro 

Termine con un Padre Nuestro.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “I must respect the opinions of others even if I disagree with them.” — Herbert H. Lehman.

Jesus shares a series of parables on the kingdom of heaven, beginning with one about the sowing of seeds. In this one, both good and bad seed are sown.

The slaves of the household want to pull out the weeds, but the master of the house counsels to let them grow up together, then harvest them and separate the good from the bad.

The next two parables are also about growth: the mustard seed, and the yeast that causes the wheat to rise.

Jesus notices that growth comes in many ways. There is the parallel growth of good and bad; there is the surprising growth of something tiny (the mustard seed) that becomes something very big, and there is the growth that comes when something full of potential (yeast) is added.

Growth usually is very slow and incremental. It is hardly noticeable. Over short periods, one usually cannot see it happen. But tracked over a long period of time, it often shocks and amazes us.

Some people mark the growth of their children on the borders of the hallway doors on a monthly basis. Days or weeks probably cannot be recorded. Monthly or quarterly will reveal the growth that has occurred.

Do we recognize our personal growth as Catholic Christians? Do we stop to take a good look at ourselves and appreciate the way the Gospel has grown within us?

Do we mark the growth along the way, perhaps through the sacrament of reconciliation or through good talks and sharing with other people concerned with the growth of their own spirit?

Jesus lifts up the notion of growth because he knows that the grace and love of God, so generously given and so fruitful for our spirit, offers us the opportunity to experience tremendous growth.

Over months, over years, over a lifetime, it simply amazes!

The kingdom of heaven is like the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The kingdom of heaven is now.

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.