Sunday, November 13, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Who loves me will love my dog also.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux (... a very human Bernard).

Everyone seems to agree that all things will come to an end or that there will be an end to the world as we know it. The differences of opinion arise around questions like When? How will it happen? Where will it begin? and What are the signs?

The word of God today brings little clarity to the issue except in two areas. Jesus’ commentary about the signs of the end times tells us that “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

These signs have happened, are happening, and seemingly will continue to happen until the end. This past year alone left us breathless with pain and sorrow over floods, fires, and earthquakes, leaving thousands of people homeless, struggling, and suffering – and many dead.

We continue to be at war, and there is still much unrest and fighting and refusal to get along in the Middle East, many parts of Africa, and in the Middle East; tensions seem to be on the rise.

We have had a horrific year of terrorism and blatant hatred scarring the face of our earth.

Is it the end? Are we near?

But here is one area in which Jesus speaks loudly and clearly: “See that you not be deceived for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘the time has come.’ Do not follow them!”

No one knows when. No one has the plan. No one should be trying to figure it out, because even Jesus (in another quote) doesn't know. Only our Father who is in heaven knows. So we can let that one go.

It will come when it comes. Period.

The second issue Jesus foretells is more personal and perhaps more scary since signs of this are present and happening, too.

He says, before any of the above happens there will be religious persecution. Further, he says: “You will be handed over ... by relative, friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name.”

He also says don’t prepare, words will be given to you, not a hair of your head will be destroyed, you will secure your lives. In this seemingly contradictory message, it is clear that what happens in the flesh and what happens in our spirit, in a more eternal sense, will go on simultaneously.

God, the God of the living, will secure us and for us a life that is bigger and more than this one. The forces within and among us that are often destructive, and the final destruction of the world, are nothing in comparison with his everlasting love.

The message, simply put, remains to this day: Do not be afraid! Trust! Be alert! Be ready!

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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