Sunday, June 22, 2014

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker 

This celebration of the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ highlights two relationships: God’s special and loving relationship with us, and our relationship with one another as the body of Christ.

This feast affords me a wonderful opportunity to express my thanks to all of you. The scriptures today point out how God guided his people, out of love and compassion. Nothing was left to chance. God led his people out into the desert and eventually led them to the place of promise. He fed them, gave them drink and protected them from the "serpents." Their outer physical journey reflected a parallel inner journey of the spirit.

In John’s Gospel, God continued to care for his people. He sent his Son Jesus who gave himself to God’s people so completely that he became their very food and drink to satisfy their deepest hungers and thirsts. God’s wondrous care promised eternal life and the assurance that we will be "raised on the last day."

All of this, and our relationship with Jesus the Christ, especially in Eucharist, brings us into a profound relationship with one another.

Paul tells us we are the "body of Christ." Jesus describes the depth of our unity through Eucharist: “Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”

I am thankful. I came to St. Bernard Church three years ago, and this very amazing parish has drawn me into this portion of the body of Christ with profound results for me. This parish has shaped me, changed me, formed me, challenged me, taught me and given me new life.

Like a family, we have gone through it all. We have said things, done things and refused to do things that have hurt; and we have challenged, blessed, healed and loved one another. We have been asked by God’s word to forgive. Hopefully, we have done so.

We have worked together. We are, and will become, more united — more one — more the body of Christ.

I am thankful. My heart has been called to love, and I did all I did not just out of duty, but for love.

I am thankful that I was a part of this portion of the body of Christ.

I am thankful to and for you!

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

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