Sunday, November 11, 2012

Looking ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker 

What could it mean in the scriptures to "give everything we have" to the Lord? Is it even possible? Does anyone ever really do that completely?

The story today is a lesson, a model, a teaching, a call, an invitation to discover something about the kingdom of God. It seems to be the case in scripture that only those who are poor inside — empty, waiting, looking, searching, seeking – are the ones who are able to experience the kingdom of God. It is as if the kingdom requires a certain amount of emptiness in order to provide room within our spirit for the kingdom to enter and possess us.

When we are crowded with money, power, cushy comforts or too much busyness, the kingdom just can’t seem to find us. There is also a false portrayal of the kingdom often found (in the Gospels) in the most religious persons: they are in the front of the synagogue, and they wear all of their religious tassels and symbols in clear view for all to see. These people do all the right things but always for people to see. They give a lot of money, of time, of anything that will make them look important in the eyes of others.

But a poor, vulnerable, empty-of-impressive-social-characteristics widow gives a simple offering of two pennies — and Jesus notices. He notices not so much the amount (not very noteworthy) but the totality of the offering — everything she had.

To risk being empty allows the kingdom of God to come alive in us. To risk and to know the experience of giving all is "so kingdom" that it cannot be taught in words but only in lived action. A poor widow teaches the wealthiest lesson of all!

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

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