Sunday, September 2, 2012

Looking ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker 

The word of God, especially through Jesus' teachings, often distinguishes between the "letter of the law" and the "spirit of the law."

Simply doing the law without opening our hearts to it — is critiqued by Jesus in his words: "This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." The television series "Law and Order" made the point very well: laws, order, and respect for these things make life better for all.

The moment we begin to disregard the law is the moment we begin to welcome disorder into our lives. But the word today goes further. Jesus was trying to teach that religion and faith are more than just following laws. In the letter of James, today’s second reading, we hear what Jesus was always trying to teach us: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world."

Jesus taught and understood profoundly that living is loving and loving is living! That's what the law teaches and offers to us. Keeping the law is realized in a moment, in a specific response. Loving as Jesus teaches is conversion that never ends and forever deepens within us. That is the life he offers!

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

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