Sunday, June 23, 2013

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker 

When reading the scriptures, it is often helpful to find a word that captures the sense of the passage.

“Restoration” is a word that does that well. To “restore” something is: to give back or return something to its original state; to renew. Another more subtle definition describes it as: to put again in possession of something.

To look at the reverse of this brings even more clarity. We often speak of something losing its shine or not looking like its original self. When this happens, we determine that it might be time to restore it or return it back to its original look.

The same is true spiritually, but in a much deeper way. One way that people often speak about mental illness is that a person loses themselves. In order to find themselves, something has to happen that restores, renews or gives them back possession of their original self.

This is what the scripture describes in what we call original sin; that is, our original self was lost. Its restoration, or the giving back of ourselves, has happened in Christ. He gave us, or showed us, the way to be human again – truly human. He taught us that love restores us individually and communally so that the divisions that happen within and among us cannot destroy our humanity.

“Who do you say that I am?” Knowing who he truly was could lead us to understand what he had to do and what we have to do to follow him.

He must suffer and die and be raised! This complete surrender to love in the face of hate and rejection was a total giving of self – dying and rising. It was this reality that Jesus spoke to all: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

Loosing self leads to finding self. It is not a bad thing. It is a necessary thing. Somehow it is in the restoration that grace becomes fully alive in us.

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

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