Sunday, November 20, 2011

Looking ahead

What will we find today?

By Father Perry D. Leiker

This last Sunday of the church year is always celebrated as the Solemnity of Christ the King. How appropriate! We hear scripture which points us to the "Day of Judgment" when we will stand before Christ the King, seated on his throne of glory and judgment. There, he will address each of us as he also addresses the lives we have lived.

It appears that as long as humanity has been here, human persons have had a sense of "consequences for our actions." It all catches up with us. We can’t escape who we have been.

But of all the biblical writings, perhaps nothing is as powerful and challenging as these words of Jesus in Matthew 5. This separating of the sheep (the good souls) from the goats (the bad souls) is based not only on specific actions, but also on the recipients of those actions. Visiting the sick, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, etc., are the actions. But the most radical and demanding part is revealed when Jesus identifies himself with "one of the least ones."

Jesus lays it all on the line. It connects beautifully with another passage that asks the question: "If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even the pagans do as much." Once again, Jesus' word is transformative. He is interested not just in the actions (as good as they are), but the one to whom we show them. This is agape — the kind of love that is without condition, limitless, knows no bounds. This is God love. This is what he offers us and calls us to become.

On this last Sunday of the year, we look at end times. We look at what we hopefully will become by the end of our earthly time. We look at what Jesus hopes we will find today!

Father D. Perry Leiker is St. Bernard parish administrator. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112.

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