Sunday, June 5, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Fear grows out of the things we think; it lives in our minds. Compassion grows out of the things we are; it lives in our hearts.” — Michael Garrison.

The word on Sunday presented to us two widows separated by hundreds of years but who share a common story.

One has an only son who is “sick unto death,” and another son who has already died.

Each also has a person who intervenes in their lives and connects them with God’s healing powers.

Elijah, guest of the widow in the first story, appeals to God to save the child. The child comes back to perfect health and is returned to his mother.

In the Gospel Jesus halts a funeral and tells the corpse — the dead son of the widow of our second story, to “arise.” The boy sits up, speaks and is returned to his mother.

The obvious reality that is played out in these stories is that God’s tremendous mercy is experienced by these widows as they have their children given back to them.

These are miracles of the highest order. Most of the attention in the stories goes directly to the miraculous moment of restoration. But the moment that “sets up” the miracle is worthy of attention.

Elijah is catapulted into action by the women’s hurt and their angry plea; he calls out to God passionately and with great faith: “O LORD, my God, let the life breath return to the body of this child.”

Jesus, too, is moved and thrust into action by his own compassion for the widow who was a complete stranger who just happened into his pathway because of this funeral procession.

By his “Godly authority” he cried out: “Young man, I tell you, arise!”

Both widows and their children meet men of God” who profoundly change lives through this encounter.

Both scenes are true experiences of profound faith and love. Both scenes are moments of profound restoration of life, relationship, peace and faith.

How could these women and their children ever be the same? What would they think of God from that moment forward until the day they die?

What would they now think of the “gift of life”?

And what do these stories do to us and our understanding of God and appreciation of life?

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.

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