Sunday, April 26, 2015

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

Question: "Which role or profession is more important: a doctor or a plumber?"

Answer: "It depends: if the sink is plugged up, well then, the plumber!"

One job or profession may be more complicated, require more education, or seek more expertise than another. But depending on the needs and circumstances, any particular profession may rise to the top as the most important because, at the moment, it may be most needed.

There are many vocations (callings) in our Christian lives. Some are called to marriage, some to priesthood or diaconate, some to consecrated religious life for men and women, some to a single state. Each is a vocation from God.

When one feels called and hears that call deep within them, this calling or vocation becomes uniquely satisfying. When deep within a person discovers the call, then there is nothing they do or give up that could be too much – they just know that it is so right for them.

Praying about our call should be in the prayer agenda of every Christian. To believe that God is actually calling us – deep within – makes hearing and answering a very important life activity. That is why we pray for vocations – all vocations.

We pray that all will take and make the time to listen deep within. We pray that the voice of God will become real to us, and we will hear it.

The Good Shepherd calls us. He tells us that his sheep hear his voice and know him.

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

Saturday, April 25, 2015

St. Bernard Parish retreat

Click to register.
“Come follow Me …
            Be my Disciple”

“Ven sígueme …
            Ser mi Discipulo”

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor.
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

Not recognizing someone you haven't seen for years is a common experience. It usually includes embarrassment, confusion, frustration, then surprise and delight as we recognize and become reacquainted with the person who, for some reason, was unrecognizable.

Lack of recognition because of changes in the body — especially aging — is one thing. Lack of recognition of the inner person is much more difficult; this requires intimacy and sharing for recognition to occur.

For these last two weeks in our liturgy we have had stories of unrecognition turned to recognition. Each time, Jesus takes the disciples through the steps: "look at my hands and my feet"; "touch me and see." He showed them recognizable features, he invited them to touch and experience him as real, and he proved he wasn’t just a vision or a ghost – he ate food which ended up in his stomach and not on the floor.

But this was more than a scene of simple recognition or catching up with old friends. Jesus was acutely aware of and concerned with what was happening inside the disciples' minds and hearts. He began again: "Peace be with you."

Then, observing their startled shock and terror and confusion (they thought they were seeing a ghost), he asked them directly and simply: "Why are you troubled, and why do questions arise in your hearts?"

Then, as he had done on other occasions, he explained how the law of Moses, and the prophets and the psalms, had to be fulfilled in him.

This included his death and resurrection.

Jesus is equally concerned with our recognition. Recognizing stories of Jesus and his words is the easy part. Recognizing in our hearts his presence, his call, his love, his forgiveness, his invitations to grow, his promptings of our spirit – these are the many recognitions he seeks for us to experience every day, all the time.

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

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker

Thank you, God, for the gift of Thomas the doubter. Such honesty and straightforwardness is refreshing and epitomizes the person of Thomas. He insisted he would not believe if he did not see with his own eyes.

But the Gospel now comes alive, as Jesus' love, care and gentleness reaches out to Thomas. Jesus knew what Thomas needed: "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe."

Jesus invited and called forth faith and trust in Thomas, who did not disappoint. Only Thomas is recorded as uttering these words of faith: "My Lord and my God!" He receives this invitation from Jesus the Christ and sees, understands and professes faith.

Do we ever doubt? Are we seekers of faith? Do we hand over doubts and questions to the Lord?

Are we willing to allow the Lord to call us to faith? Are we open to discovering, seeing, understanding and professing deeper faith?

On this Divine Mercy Sunday, perhaps we will experience the love and mercy of God in a way that transforms our faith and gives to us new life.

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

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Looking Ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker 

“ALLELUIA,” the “Easter song,” is sung out repeatedly in our Easter liturgies. This is the first time we hear these words for the last 40 days.

Today he truly becomes the Christ, the anointed one. He enters into his glory resurrected and transformed. As God raises him from death and into glory, he also gives to us the pattern of our own immortal destiny. We, too, will share in the glory of the Lord and be given life eternal.

We rejoice also with our newly baptized and those who will receive confirmation and eucharist for the first time. We rejoice with those who receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit – powerful and enabling gifts. There really is no time like Easter.

This is the time of redemption. This is the time of promises made and promises kept. God’s covenant with us is fully revealed in the death and resurrection of his Son. If he had not been raised, his death would be in vain. Because he has been raised, we are irrevocably changed and promised life eternal. For that reason alone, we joyfully sing our Easter song: “ALLELUIA”!

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