Sunday, April 7, 2013

Looking Ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker

The mercy of God is not only great, but abundant. It is offered to us before we know we need it. And when we open to it we receive more than we could ever want or need.

Grace, as understood in the church, is all gift. It is not deserved or merited. It is not earned or able to be purchased. It is God’s love and Spirit poured out over us and into us. If we think we earn it, we not only limit its abundance but also its fruitfulness. Only when we truly perceive it as gift and free, and given out of love, do we begin to understand how blessed we are to receive it.

Grace is another way of seeing God’s divine mercy. The mercy of God is revealed so often in the scriptures, especially through Jesus’ merciful love shown to the sick and those in need. But also, as in today’s Gospel, his mercy reaches out even to those who betrayed him and left him to suffer and die alone. He offered them merciful love when he met them again in the upper room on Easter night. He did not condemn them but offered them the gift of peace, the gift of his Spirit, the call to go forth, and even the gift and power to share God’s forgiveness with others.

If the apostles had received what they deserved for their lack of faithfulness to Jesus, indeed, they would have received very little at all. But in God’s great mercy and love, Jesus poured out grace upon grace to reveal unmerited and underserved love.

Do we get it? Do we understand that God is always loving and blessing us? Do we realize that the best posture before God is simply gratefulness?

Father Perry D. Leiker is St. Bernard parish administrator. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email pleiker@stbernard-church.com.

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