Sunday, September 13, 2015

Looking Ahead

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

How does God think?

None of us can really answer that question from personal experience, but only from the "revealed word of God." That revealed word is shared with us by Jesus most directly in today's Gospel from Mark.

Jesus "began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected be the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days."

After a brief scuffle and rebuke of Peter — "Get behind me, Satan" — he tells us that this is the "thinking of God." Most simply put, it is the paschal mystery.

Some things, and perhaps we might even say, all things, can only come about through a dying and rising.

Coming about or coming into existence means transformation. Even birth is that. Whatever existed in the womb — and more precisely how it existed — is to be no longer.

Ask a newborn baby (of course, you won’t get much of an answer). The crying is testimony enough. The baby – secure and happy in the womb, with sufficient warmth, food, comfort and security – wants to escape the womb? I don’t think so.

There is no vote, no opinion poll. Nature simply decides that life as it has been known for nine months is to be no longer.

The baby must "die and rise" to life in the womb, that is, must leave the womb so that life can begin again in a much larger womb – the world.

This is paschal mystery. This mystery is a daily one for the rest of our lives. Each one is a dress rehearsal for the total paschal mystery to be realized in our physical death and resurrection – the promise.

Why do we resist it? Why can’t we see? Why do we rebuke this mystery as did Peter? Why don’t we learn how to embrace it and enter into it?

Jesus sees it so plainly. Perhaps that is why he could embrace it so totally: “Whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.”

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

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