Saturday, May 5, 2012

Looking ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker

There is a use of language during this part of the Easter season that speaks to a very intimate and sensitive part of us. It wreaks of inclusion and belonging — it contains a deep sense of being at home. In the language of mystagogia (RCIA) it fits so well since it is a very clear depiction of going deeper into the mysteries and integrating the spiritual truths deeply into our lives. It is expressed so simply and beautifully in today’s Gospel: "Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit”; and, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you."

"Staying connected" by cell phone or Facebook is for some people the height of inter-connectivity. Some can’t live without it. Some appear to be addicted to their cell phones and to remaining in touch with friends and the world out there. But this Gospel goes much deeper. "Remain in me" and allow me to "remain in you" – and fruitfulness, fulfillment, finding completion will result in your lives.

Jesus is clear about many things throughout his preaching and teaching career. He says the world of faith and spirit is about more than "doing things" or "following commandments." He doesn’t negate these practices as if they are useless. He does indicate that one can follow these perfectly and not find the Kingdom of God. His sense is that "remaining in" is more the goal. Experiencing God dwelling within — his word having a space within — Jesus' presence becoming a part of. These are the things or spiritual realities that make the Kingdom of God come alive in us. This is a language that must become reality for us that is — experienced, shared, described, celebrated, lived!

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

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