Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Looking Ahead

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

The Gospel passage of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is the only one that deals with Jesus just about to begin his teenage years. It reveals a typical family with typical problems.

It appears at first that Jesus is irresponsible and not caring which results in distress, panic, fear, hurt and disappointment for his parents, Joseph and Mary.

How could their son not communicate with them? He was 12, not a little boy – how could he "get lost"? Why would he not tell either his father or mother what, where and why he wasn’t with either of them?

Mary's own words expressed their grief: "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety."

They were not prepared for his response, and Luke's Gospel uses this to reveal where this bigger Gospel story is going to go. This wasn’t about Joseph or Mary. In a sense, it wasn't even about Jesus.

"Why were you looking for me? Did you not know at I must be in my Father’s house?"

Mary did not understand, but kept all these things in her heart. Jesus progressed in wisdom, age and favor before God and man.

This is no ordinary family. There has probably never been another mother in human history that has heard this response from her 12-year-old son after losing then finding him.

If there is a lesson in this story for any family – for every family – what might it be?

Things go wrong. People make poor decisions. Bad judgments are a part of everyone's experience in life. Worse, people are also not caring, and are hurtful, selfish and even vengeful.

All of this can happen between enemies, but it can also happen within families.

But what if we had a kind of spirituality, that is, a way within our hearts, souls and mind that permitted us to not understand – and that would be okay with us?

What if we were able to draw things deep into our hearts and there think about them, ponder upon them and reflect about them before we made decisions or judgments?

What if we really had a relationship with our Father and our Father's house that was so real that to go in there and be with him would always bring results, it would always help?

What if we had the eyes and heart to see the people around us change, grow and advance both in wisdom and age?

In other words, could it be – is it possible – that sometimes the world is as it is and never becomes more because we get stuck, because we are not as open as we could be, because we don’t listen or see?

The miracle of the Holy Family has to happen in each and every member. The miracle of the Holy Family happens when our spirit is open and willing.

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

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