Friday, January 13, 2012

Looking ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker

The star evoked different responses in people. For the Magi it revealed someone of great importance who was to come. It provoked them to seek out the writings of the sages to find and come to understand what the heavens were saying about this person.

According to Matthew, they found him and offered their gifts. The star, to Herod, lit up his jealousy and fear. It provoked him to have murderous feelings and actions and to not only desire but to set out to kill this child — this promised one. He consulted learned men also, but for very different reasons. We all get the same information about the Christ. We all know the same stories about the star and who did what, to whom, when and where. But what does it provoke in us? What does it teach us and call forth from us?

Faith is indeed very provocative. It is not nor should it be business as usual. Faith ought to get down into the deepest fears, jealousies, loves, hopes, desires, dreams, and into the core of our imagination. Faith is not a surface thing; rather, it is a total thing. Faith is like the air we breathe that comes into our nostrils, into our lungs, into our blood, filling every cell and reaching out to our skin through our blood vessels and returning the water so that our entire system has been filtered, cleansed, healed, renewed — nothing escapes that breath, that gift of life. It really is ruah — God’s breath and life that fills us.

People who leave faith perhaps never really tasted it, or were never really provoked. It isn’t a little thing of little significance --- it is everything and of the most significance. It is no surprise that some people die for their faith because they realize to live without it would mean nothing.

What does the star provoke in us?

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

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