Sunday, August 3, 2014

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker 

Does celebrating Eucharist, receiving the body and blood of Christ, satisfy our deepest hungers and thirsts?

What are our deepest hungers and thirsts? Do we long for justice? Is peace something we thirst for among nations, in our cities, on our streets, within our own hearts?

Over time, have our families fractured and disintegrated or simply drifted apart? Are we hungry for reconciliation, healing and a new unity?

Today, the scriptures speak about these hungers and thirsts being satisfied.

“Come to the water. Come, receive grain and eat. Delight in rich fare. Come to me; listen, that you may have life.” Paul proclaims the conviction that the love of God for us cannot be taken from us.

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

But in the Gospel, Jesus hears the painful news that his cousin, John the Baptist, had been killed, and he goes off alone to a deserted place. But when he disembarks from the boat he finds the crowds who had followed him. He feels compassion, pity, and the need to teach and heal. He even feeds them — 5,000 men, not counting the women and children — multiplying the fish and the loaves. And there were 12 baskets of left-over food.

Why do we come to church? Are we being fed? Does our thirst get satisfied? Do we even know for what we hunger and thirst? Does being fed depend on the priest — somewhat, a lot, entirely?

Does the community touch us, too, with its faith, hope, love and prayerful praise? Does the beauty of the church or temple also touch our hunger for a sacred space that heals, touches, strengthens and brings peace?

We come free, too; there is no cost, yet we give generously because we know the cost of providing all of this?

Do we give generously? Do we love generously? Do we support our church financially, prayerfully and lovingly.

“The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs” (Psalm 14). The host and the cup are the experience that brings us together and opens the many, many, many ways in the liturgy that the Lord feeds us, gives us drink, satisfying our deepest hungers and thirsts.

So come, and eat, drink, listen, love and sing!

Give praise!

Be filled!

Find life!

Share hope!

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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