Sunday, January 31, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Sitting still, doing nothing. Spring comes and the grass grows by itself” — Zen Wisdom.

The normal way that God speaks to anyone is in the silence of their heart. That is where we hear most clearly. That is the place where we recognize the harmony of any message of God with ALL of his word with which we are and must be very familiar.

That is where we realize that God does not speak contrary to his word. He is not “yes” here and “no” there. No one knew this better than the prophets — except for Jesus.

Jeremiah hears God’s intimate calling: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.”

Jesus speaks out of a complete connection with God as he proclaims the words of Isaiah the prophet: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Now the word spoken is heard, and the response begins. Luke tells us: “All spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.”

But they also asked: “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”

The account almost sounds like cocktail chatter: approval and curiosity all wrapped up in one conversation. But the real challenge came as always with the prophetic word.

Jesus himself acknowledged that no prophet is accepted in his own native place.

But especially when the words became challenging, direct and intrusive, the true colors showed as the people rejected Jesus outright: “When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town ...”

There, they intended to “finish him off” and be rid of this crazy and offensive prophet!

Does this Gospel mirror our own struggle to listen to and truly hear the word of God?

We are not always going to like what we hear in God’s word. God’s word always takes us beyond where we are or where we want to go.

His word questions our status quo and asks us to give up our own wills and embrace God’s. God’s word often is found in our lives precisely where we don’t want to find it. It is no wonder they drove him out of town.

The question is whether or not we will do the same; or will we listen, hear, open, love, then believe his word in our lives?

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

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