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

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