Sunday, November 1, 2015

Looking Ahead

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

The Solemnity of All Saints recognizes the holy ones we call saints.

The church from its beginning has formally named persons as saints and continues to do so to this day.

Since last November, Pope Francis has canonized 16 persons finally naming them as saints. Among those canonized was Junipero Serra, who lived and practiced ministry here within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Recognizing them as saints says that they attained a degree of holiness that places them apart and sets them up now as an example to be followed in our efforts to grow closer to Jesus Christ and to look more like Christ in our daily living.

They were ordinary human beings like each of us. They can show us the way — and the church celebrates this.

Many like to point out, however, that there are formally recognized saints with a capital S, and then there are all of those "saints" — you and I — who ARE saints because of baptism.

We enter the waters of baptism to die to the slavery of sin and to rise in holiness as followers, disciples and friends of Jesus Christ.

We are anointed with the holy oils that signify that we are indeed anointed in Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit.

In baptism we believe that God dwells in us. We believe we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and that we have become temples of the Holy Spirit.

We believe that the power of evil and sin has forced — exorcised — from us and that grace now dwells within us.

These changes are neither superficial or cosmetic. No, these go to the corner of our soul and spirit where we believe we are radically changed, that is, in our roots.

We become holy — saints. We are set apart. We belong to God. We are cared for, protected, loved, graced, strengthened and blessed.

While the Solemnity of All Saints truly honors and celebrates the countless men and women — lay, religious, and ordained — who have been formally named as saints, we are all honored today.

This is OUR feast day. This is our recognition of what God has done to and for us.

This day is a day of holiness.

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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