Sunday, January 24, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “The courage to die for their beliefs is given only to those who have the courage to live for them” — Sheila Cassidy.

When the people heard the law of God, they wept.

Ezra told them instead: “Do not be sad. Do not weep. Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our Lord. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the lord must be your strength!”

Our relationship with God means that we always care for the common good. This is the beauty of our faith. Loving God means loving our neighbor, and when we love our neighbor, we have already loved God.

The simplest way to look at sin is to ask who has been hurt by it, because sin always hurts and/or destroys someone or something.

To begin to live an order of life (lawful) that respects self and others is to live in a way that will always give honor and glory to our God. But we cannot underestimate the power of sin within us.

No need to blame Satan out there or someone else. Each of us must look to ourselves and within ourselves to the attitudes and desires that twist us and contort our thinking.

Sin in its many forms obscures our ability to see our neighbor’s needs or the common good. So quickly we can become selfish, turned inward, desiring only our comfort, seeking only our pleasure, going only after our wants.

Order (law) calls us back to the bigger reality — the common good. In politics today, isn’t one of the most nagging and irritating concerns that of the special interests? These special needs are presented to our law makers by lobbyists who represent often the most wealthy and powerful of interests. Many times we don’t even know who they are. But they spend millions and millions of dollars to influence or even buy the vote of our legislators who, after all, do want to be re-elected; and elections cost lots and lots of money.

But are special interests good for our country, good for our citizens, good for the “common good”? Hardly. Thus, we can see plainly the need for order (law), and we, too, ought to rejoice in it.

With law there are always consequences. Is this what caused the people to be sad and to weep? Did they fear the consequences? Did they fear the punishments that accompanied the law? If people accept law and order, there are always consequences.

In fact, nothing in this life happens without consequences — “cause and effect.” Better than punishment is, however, true consequences. When we do wrong, we should right the wrong. When we are part of the hurting of others, we should be part of the mending, too.

When our actions offend others, we should be responsible to help bring healing. When our choices destroy, we should be responsible to rebuild and to replace.

Today in many circles we hear the phrase “restorative justice.” These two words connect well with love for the law of God.

When we see the destruction caused by sin, shouldn’t we be about restoring and healing?

This is what truly makes us and any day holy to our Lord.

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

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