Sunday, February 16, 2014

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker

Jesus lifts the bar. He says he didn’t come to abolish the law, not even a letter of it; rather, he came to fulfill it. In so doing, he asks not the minimum, but more than the mind can imagine.

He re-asserts the law: “Thou shalt not kill!” But then he goes beyond what the mind can imagine – he lifts the bar: “But I say to you, whoever is angry with brother will be liable to judgment.”

As always, we are dealing with teaching when Jesus speaks. It is a mysterious mixture of wisdom, prophecy, precepts, and idealism. It can surely never be fully realized, but he places it before us as both a simple and, at the same time, profound call. He is inviting us to experience nothing less than the kingdom of God here and now.

Think about it. Could he say, “I tell you, do the minimum. Just don’t kill.” No. Not the Lord of life. He says: “Don’t even be angry.” Is it possible? Yes. Is it sustainable? Hardly. But he keeps calling, inviting, alluring, attracting, because through his call we have everything to gain.

Jesus lifts the bar. Are we ready for the challenge?

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

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