Sunday, November 20, 2016

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Learn the lesson that, if you are to do the work of a prophet, what you need is not a scepter but a hoe.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

“Christ the King” is certainly a title that expresses the victorious and powerful importance given to Jesus.

Anyone hearing that title, attached to this last Sunday of the church year, would certainly recognize the place that Jesus holds in our eyes and hearts.

Then, as quickly as they succumbed to that clear awareness, they would undoubtedly fall prey to another.

Then how could he end up on a cross?

We as Christians understand the perplexing contradiction – a true paradox: In his moment of greatest weakness, he is strongest; in his hour of complete surrender he overcomes even death itself.

“Unless the seed dies it remains only a seed. But if it dies it can produce much fruit.”

His death and resurrection are one. His pain is his glory. His dying opens the way for his rising. The cross is his crown.

In his poverty he is rich. In his suffering he comes to full glory — but only to those who have eyes to see.

One criminal on the cross beside him sees failure, emptiness, mockery, ridicule, inability to do anything. But the other criminal dying at the other side of Jesus gets it, he recognizes Jesus’ strength in his weakness.

Seeing the same thing — yet seeing so much more — this criminal asks Jesus: “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus, speaking truly as king and Lord assures him: “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Christ the King truly reigns. He is true to his word, and we do believe he is merciful and full of love. His saving power is great, indeed, and will make up for a horrible lacking in us.

Like the good criminal today, how nice if we receive grace and are able to recognize and respond to it. How nice if we are able to see deeper and understand.

We look at Christ our king on a cross. We get it. We find in the emptiness of that moment all we need and all we are called to become.

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

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