Sunday, March 27, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the week: “There is my truth. There is your truth. There is the truth.”  — Chinese dictum

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad!”

This refrain today expresses the fundamental truth of Easter. It could only be “of” the Lord our God.

Death is swallowed up in victory. He is risen! Life is now eternal!

The drama of the Easter news is wondrously proclaimed in nine verses of John.

Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb while it was still dark and discovers that the stone had been removed. She ran to tell Simon Peter and John, who then ran to the tomb with John outrunning Peter, then waiting before entering.

They discovered the burial cloths — obviously the body had not been stolen or the cloths would have been taken, too.

Empty tomb. Burial cloths. They “saw and believed.” They did not understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

Ten words sum it up and explain some of our religious experience.

How often do we experience life recognizing spiritual themes and realities as a part of that life? How often do we interpret realities seeing good or evil spirits and seek an understanding that makes common sense?

If we can understand in these 10 words a religious experience within an ordinary experience and recognize that ultimately we can believe and not always understand, perhaps we will find some important answers for our faith.

Try to explain to a child that grandpa, who just died and was buried in the ground, is “raised up” and will “live with God forever.” They are easy words to say. Are they easy words to comprehend?

Perhaps full comprehension — the ability to explain everything, claiming to know all — is not as important as some would think.

Would we be satisfied to discover an empty tomb, burial cloths, then see and believe while at the same time admitting that we couldn’t comprehend it all? Or perhaps there might be an almost limitless opportunity to go deeper, grow deeper and find many levels of meaning and truth.

This is no ordinary day we celebrate. This is not just another day. “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad!”

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email perry.leiker@gmail.com. Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

'Celebrating conversion'

Holy Saturday: At the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter
Saturday, March 26, 2016
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

"Two-thousand years later — after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ — we are here in this church celebrating conversion," Father Perry tells us in his homily for Holy Saturday. "We keep going. There's more that we can understand. There's more grace that we can open ourselves to. There's more life of Christ that we can embrace, that can change the way that we are, the way that we think, the way that we live. And — especially if we do it together — we can have a huge impact in this world to make the world a better place. It's a process of conversion — slow, but sure and forever."

Friday, March 25, 2016

'We remember, we celebrate, we believe'

Holy Thursday
Thursday, March 24, 2016
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

"There's so much on our platter tonight. This is a sumptuous feast. There's so much, it's impossible," Father Perry tells us in his homily for Holy Thursday. "It's always a good thing to be in the presence of someone we love and allow their presence to affect us. But it's also wrapped around what happens at the end of this night — the last supper, and Jesus is going to be arrested and tried the next day."

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the week: “If and when were planted. Nothing grew.” — Turkish saying.

(Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults Masses: In these Masses, Cycle A readings are proclaimed and the Scrutinies are celebrated. Lazarus is raised from the dead. With Martha, we are all invited to know Jesus the Christ who is the Resurrection and the life!)

In the Cycle C Readings, the Psalm refrain today simply says: “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.”

This refrain is clearly echoed in each of the readings. Isaiah is able to think back to Moses’ and the Israelites’ incredible escape from slavery as God led them through the desert and through the waters: “See I am doing something new!”

Paul speaks of the great things God has done for him in Christ Jesus: “For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things that I may gain Christ and be found in him.”

But could we ever imagine that the woman caught in adultery would walk out of the temple area having been freed by Jesus? “Has no one condemned you?”

She replied: “No one.”

The Pharisees were using her as a pawn in an effort to capture Jesus in their “inescapable trap.” Jesus would either stand for the law of Moses, in which case all of his preaching about mercy and forgiveness would pretty much be a sham. Or he would stand on his preaching about mercy and forgiveness and in doing so would negate the law of Moses.

Finally, they had him! But Jesus, as always, went deeper. He offered the woman forgiveness and mercy. He challenged all not to judge. He demonstrated simply that all were sinners and in need of God’s mercy. He invited all to see how mercy and forgiveness — not judgment and condemnation — change people’s lives.

We have almost completed our Lent. Only Palm Sunday separates us from today and Easter.

How have we grown? How have we changed? Did we experience God’s mercy and forgiveness in any noticeable way this Lent? Were we a little less judgmental of others this Lent?

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email perry.leiker@gmail.com. Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.