Sunday, September 30, 2012

Looking ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker 

Many times we think of blessings of things and persons in a mechanical way. The blessing has to be personally given for it to be effective or authentic.

The word of God testifies differently today. In the first reading, a portion of Moses' spirit is taken and given to 70 elders but two others (Eldad and Medad) are not physically in the camp to receive his spirit, yet it is mysteriously given to them, also, for they were on the list.

How is it that blessings and the bestowing of spirit can happen like this? These two were not even present. In the Gospel, the disciples report to Jesus that someone was casting out demons in the name of Jesus. They tried to prevent him from doing so because "he does not follow us." Jesus told them to leave him alone. In some mysterious way he was called and following without ever having been a part of Jesus' company.

The blessings the call, the distribution of spirit are bigger than any action on our part. God's grace and spirit, though bestowed through our prayers and actions, are not and cannot be limited by us. They are bigger than us!

The church uses a Latin phrase iglesia supplet, meaning "the church supplies", to say that the intentions of the church come about effectively even when things are not done by the book or are done mistakenly, because the intentions of the church are bigger than us. Mystery is something that is so profound and so big it never stops giving, opening, revealing, teaching, leading, providing. We come to know more, then we realize we don’t know it all there is always more. This should also teach us, as many cultures know so well, that not only priests are qualified to give blessings. All of us can. That is why the blessing of parents to children and for that matter from children to parents is something that indeed has power in our lives.

Yes, these blessings, too, are bigger than us!

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

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