Sunday, December 9, 2012

Looking ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker

"This is my prayer ... that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ." This is more than sentiment. This is a prayer of readiness and preparedness on a cosmic scale. May you and all of creation be ready to meet the Lord when he comes again!

These readings speak of glory, power, dominion, joy, and the fulfillment of all the peoples of all nations and generations. But the Gospel speaks of a different preparation. It is not preparation for the birth of Jesus, but the first public encounter at the waters of the Jordan. There, John the Baptist announces a great visitation for which preparation and readiness were absolutely a requirement.

In order to be ready, there needs to be repentance for our sins and a thorough opening of our spirit. The image of mountains being leveled and valleys being filled up gives us an idea of just how big this task really is. There is no superficiality here. This is not a one-day, lighthearted encounter. This is "God coming among us," bringing redemption and new life and an outpouring of his spirit and grace upon us.

John has the unique purpose and responsibility for announcing the coming of the Lord. As a faith community we are invited and challenged to look at these multiple encounters: the birth of Jesus; his entrance into public ministry at the Jordan; and his coming again, when all of creation will be handed over to the Father in heaven.

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

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