Sunday, July 3, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.” — General Omar Bradley.

“Follow me” now becomes, “Go on your way,” as Jesus appoints and sends out 72 others to preach and cure the sick and cast out demons.

He gives training and warnings about what they will encounter. He makes it clear that some will not accept them nor the blessings that they bring.

He tells them to stay at one house, eat what they put before you. He tells them not to take with them moneybags, sacks nor sandals. He even tells them not to greet people along the way.

If they are not received in a town, they should shake from their feet the dust of that town then leave

The mission of Jesus is one of complete trust in God. This mission is one that puts faith and action before comfort and acceptance. This mission includes the possibility of judgment against those who are closed to the blessings being offered.

This mission is filled with power.

Jesus calls his disciples, then gives them a little taste of his ministry. In this ministry there is dying and rising. But there is power, too. There is power in being an instrument of God. There is power in effecting healing — both spiritual and physical.

There is power in sharing blessings and peace. There is power in inviting lives to turn around. There is even power in the shaking off of dust and taking back a blessing.

So Jesus unequivocally tells his disciples, “not to rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

To catch the spiritual power in humility and with a spirit of service is one of the most challenging pieces when one is involved in the ministry of Christ.

There is power, there is allurement, there is desire for control, there is the false taking of credit for all that occurs.

Jesus tells us to be content that there is a place in heaven for us, that the building of the kingdom — and the sharing in the life of the kingdom and one day knowing the fullness of the kingdom — is what the ministry is about.

We should be completely clear about this matter of ministry. It is not reserved only for the ordained clergy. Rather, it is EXPECTED of ALL who share in the priestly ministry of Jesus Christ.

Who are those?

Those are all who have been baptized in Christ — as prophet, priest and king. That priestly office of Christ is anointed into us; we are called and sent for ministry.

Whom have you blessed recently? With whom have you shared the peace of Christ? Who has felt healing or new life because of your spiritual gifting presence with them?

Whom have you challenged by shaking off the dust, that is, by not diminishing God’s word or grace, but by challenging them to see, hear and come to know God more deeply in their lives?

This is yet another case of the Gospel being not just FOR us, but ABOUT us!

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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