Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Daily Advent Inspiration

Only those whose
"fit" is perfect
will get it.
Transcript of homily recorded on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2011

Daily Advent Inspiration for Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011 (Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent)

By Father Perry D. Leiker

We all know the story: The pretty, young girl who lived with her stepmother and two ugly stepsisters — that's just what the story says — but the stepmother preferred the two ugly daughters and mistreated poor, little Cinderella. So through all the magic, she goes in this beautiful pumpkin and goes to this ball and dances with the prince; he chooses her. As the bell begins to strike 12, she runs away and she steps out and loses her one glass slipper, and then the prince goes around everywhere looking for this foot that fits perfectly into this glass slipper. When he gets to the ugly stepsisters, he tries it on and almost breaks their feet trying to cram them into the shoe. It doesn't work. But then it slips beautifully into the foot of Cinderella, and well, you know the rest of the story.

We have a Cinderella story this morning in these scriptures. God proclaims who he is and it's observable by looking at all of creation the wonders he has done. He asks in so many ways, "Is there anyone who can do this? Is there anyone who has done this? Is there anyone or anything that can create what I've done? Look, open your eyes and see." It's a "perfect fit," if you look; you can't come to any other conclusion, but this is the God who speaks and proclaims his wonders.

But then we come to the Gospel, and Jesus similarly just points to the wonders that are happening, because everyone who knew the scriptures, everyone who knew the proclamation of old, knew that when the messiah would come that this messianic time would create these wonders — mostly healing and justice and peace would spring forth, and lepers would be cleansed and the blind would see and the paralytics would walk and the deaf would hear and the mute would speak. And it's beginning to happen. And when they ask him, "Are you the one who's to come?" He said, "Look. Open your eyes and see." You see the fit. It fits perfectly. But that last line, interesting: "And how blessed is the one who takes no offense at me." Or to put it in other words: "Only those who have the eyes to see will see. Only those who have the ears to hear will hear." Only those whose "fit" is perfect will get it. And, interestingly, the most religious among them, the most outwardly religious who did all the right gesturings; who wore all the right apparel; who sat in the first rows with the longest tassels; who did it all right and whom everyone — everyone — would say, "Oh, those are the religious leaders"; they're the ones who were not blessed, who did not get it. The shoe didn't fit.

So the Cinderella story is a wonderful little story, but it really speaks in a very wise way of the reality of life. You know, when we don't have that fit, when it doesn't fit, when we don't make the connections, we can miss some of the most simple and some of the deepest truths around us. And I think what is required is not so much knowing everything, it's really knowing that we don't know. It's really having the humility to be searchers, not knowers. I mean of course, we want to know as much as we can, but in the end, how much we don't know — I mean, does anyone know how God did all of his wonders? When we look at his creations, when we went through that wind storm  a week ago, can anybody imagine here in Los Angeles that we would have hurricane-force winds? Poor Pasadena's still limping. Poor, rich, San Marino was out the longest, I think. The "perfect fit" is to stand before these scriptures today and to drop our jaws in awe and just say, "Whoa! You're right, God. You're right, God."

And how blessed are we if we have eyes to see and ears to hear and mouths to proclaim and, instead of pretending that we know all, to recognize how little we know but how blessed we are to have one revealing so much truth to us.

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

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