Sunday, October 15, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Buy the ticket, take the ride.”  — Hunter S. Thompson.

Perhaps only once a year the familiar question might go something like this: “Are you going to the party on Friday night?”

The equally rare and stunning response follows: “Are you kidding? I wouldn’t miss it! This is the social event of the year!”

What kind of event would qualify for that response? A presidential ball? The consecration or funeral of a pope? The grand opening of a world class opera house. The unveiling of a newly found Picasso. The last game of the World Series?

In today’s Gospel, it is the wedding of a king’s son. This is an event that, if invited to attend, one would never want to reject. Not only would it truly be the social event of the year, this would be a personal invitation from the king! To reject the event for whatever reason would also be to reject the king himself. It’s unthinkable!

Or to put it in other words: cancel everything; rearrange everything; put everything on hold; everything takes a back burner to this one!

This is Jesus’ way of presenting, once again, the kingdom of God. Here it is among you. It has arrived. It is now. It is forever. It is the single most important event you could and will ever know.

To reject the invitation of the kingdom is to reject God himself. It’s unthinkable!

This is the third week in a row that the liturgy presents this reality to us. The kingdom of God is offered; there are those who will not receive it, who cannot recognize it, who reject the offer.

Jesus says: “The offer will be taken away from you and given to someone else.”

These are startling words. This is truly unthinkable. The only response that makes real sense is simply: “I wouldn’t miss it. This is the event of a lifetime. This is the event that brings eternal life. Thank you for the invitation. I accept! I accept! I accept!”

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.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “What the caterpillar call the end of the world, the master calls the butterfield.” — Richard Bach.

We estimate 3,700 years of “salvation history,” beginning with the time of Abraham to the present.

The earth is estimated to be about 4.6 billion years old. The Milky Way galaxy that contains the solar system was probably formed around 13.6 billion years ago.

The universe is calculated to be about 13.7 billion years old.

The beginning of civilization, dated from 160,000 to 130,000 years ago, was the beginning of the African and Oceanic Ice Age civilizations, as modern humans displaced the neanderthals.

Looking at these dates alone, one must conclude that God is in it for the long run.

Today, Isaiah speaks of a fertile vineyard producing wild grapes. God proclaims that he would “take away its hedge, give it to grazing, let it be trampled, make it a ruin, [neither let it be] pruned or hoed, [let it] be overgrown with thorns and briers, not send rain upon it.”

Israel and Judah are respectively referred to as the vineyard and the cherished plant; God would take from them the fruitfulness he had promised, because they produced nothing as they lived for “bloodshed” and refused to seek “justice.”

In the Gospel, we hear another vineyard story in the parable of the vineyard and the evil tenants who leased the vineyard. Instead of producing a yield of good grapes, they beat the servants and even killed the son (the heir) of the owner of that vineyard.

Even the Pharisees were able to answer Jesus’ question: “What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?” They answered correctly: “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.”

What they didn’t understand was that he was referring to them: “Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”

God does not destroy. God does not punish this act or that. God does not kill. God is in it for the long run.

If humans have existed on this planet for 160,000 years, God has definitely hung around with us, put up with a lot, loved us in spite of ourselves, and continues to grace and gift us without conditions and limits

As always, the subjective variable is expressed in this question: “Are we open and willing to produce good fruit?”

God is in it for the long run.

Are we?

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.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Bishops Conference president calls for prayers, care for others after tragic shooting in Las Vegas

Archbishop Daniel
N. Dinardo.
By Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo,
archbishop of Galveston-Houston 


On Oct. 2, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), expressed "deep grief" after a deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas.

We woke this morning and learned of yet another night filled with unspeakable terror, this time in the city of Las Vegas, and by all accounts, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

My heart and my prayers, and those of my brother bishops and all the members of the church, go out to the victims of this tragedy and to the city of Las Vegas.

At this time, we need to pray and to take care of those who are suffering.

In the end, the only response is to do good – for no matter what the darkness, it will never overcome the light.

May the Lord of all gentleness surround all those who are suffering from this evil, and for those who have been killed we pray, eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Conversion is a daily thing.” — Jim Caviezel.

Words are cheap.

We often hear them from our politicians during election campaigns. Promises, promises, and more promises — taxes are going to be lowered while at the same time revenues will go up; we are going to be out of debt and yet we are going to spend more; everything that is wrong will become right.

A lot of words are spoken.

This also occurs in religious circles and the world of faith.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks a question — “What is your opinion?” — then presents the situation.

Two sons each respond to their father when asked to go out to work in his vineyard. One says “Yes” (but never goes), and the other says “No” (but has a change of heart and goes out to work).

Jesus’ question follows: “Who did his father’s will?”

The answer — “The one who did his father’s will” — can be understood in one word: “conversion,” or a change of heart.

Conversion is the core idea of all three readings today; a change of mind, heart and will is what conversion is all about.

The emptying of self in the second reading is about going through deep, profound conversion — “God emptying himself and taking the form of a slave.”

The Gospel speaks exactly the opposite truth of the world. The world says: “Grab onto power, hold it tight, use it everywhere you can; you must be in control; winning is everything.”

But the word of God speaks a different truth: “Let go; give yourself over to God; empty yourself; deny yourself; die in order to rise, to live anew and forever.”

This is what we call the Paschal Mystery. This is the example of Jesus and why he is proclaimed the Christ.

Words are cheap; promises are easy. Admitting “I am wrong” and changing one’s ways is conversion. It is the Gospel, and it is salvation.

Citing the brother who said “No” but changed his mind and did it, Jesus concludes: “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.”

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.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Respect Life Sunday | Domingo Del Respeto Por La Vida

This Sunday, our nation’s Catholics are called to renew their personal commitment to defend all human life.

Many Catholics understand this being only to refer to abortion and the pro-life movement. But the church expresses the belief that all human life is sacred "from the womb to the tomb."

Every aspect of human life is to be respected and protected. With that in mind, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops puts forth a worthy list of concerns in its pro-life activities and invites all Catholics to share their concerns over: abortion, post-abortion healing, assisted suicide, conscience protection, contraception, euthanasia, stem cell research, IVF/reproductive technology, and the death penalty.

Every Catholic should become as informed as possible in understanding these issues and in forming their conscience.

Visit the USCCB's Respect Life Program for more information related to Respect Life Month.





Este domingo, los Católicos de nuestra nación serán llamados a renovar hoy su compromiso personal para defender toda vida humana. 

Muchos Católicos entienden esto únicamente con lo referente al aborto y al movimiento pro-vida. La iglesia expresa su creencia de que toda vida humana es sagrada "desde el vientre hasta la tumba." 

Todo aspecto de la vida humana debe ser respetado y protegido. Con esto en mente, la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Los Estados Unidos (USCCB) ofrece una lista digna de preocupaciones sobre: el aborto, la sanación después del aborto, el suicidio asistido, protección de conciencia, anticonceptivos, eutanasia, estudios con células madre, FIV/tecnología reproductiva, y pena de muerte. 

Todo Católico debe estar bien informado y tener en claro todos estos temas y tomar conciencia. Para información relacionada con el Mes del Respeto Por la Vida, visite, USCCB.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us were it found us”. — Anne Lammot.

You have worked for eight hours, you are covered in sweat. You have tired muscles and are aching with exhaustion and hunger. You receive your agreed upon wage for eight hours. Now that is fair.

Someone comes to your work site at the end of the day, works one hour and receives the same wage as you. Now that is unfair!

Does this seem logical? Is there anyone who could create a worse scenario than Jesus does in this Gospel today?

Fair is fair. Unfair is unfair. Jesus, get it right!

But once again that is exactly the point. In the good news that Jesus proclaims, God is beyond fair and unfair. He generously, extravagantly, ridiculously and unconditionally pours out his love, grace and the gift of his salvation. It isn’t earned. It isn’t given out because we put in our required time or efforts. It is pure gift. It is pure love.

He doesn’t give it to some and withhold it from others. He gives it to all. He gives it all of the time.

The scriptures say it in many ways, but one of the most familiar passages says: “He sets his sun to shine on the good and the bad. He pours out his rain on the good and the bad.”

Does this not say it clearly? This good news is so often heard and most often ignored. Most people, when this is played out in real life, find it to be bad news.

If someone doesn’t earn something, they should not get it. That’s fair. That’s good news to most.

The bad news is to find out that someone gets something they did not deserve or earn. Then Jesus comes along and reveals a Father who always loves and always gives, always offers.

It really is too good to be true. But what if we lived a week believing this?

What if, even when we sinned, we believed and trusted and even expected that God was going to lead us to peace and healing, help us to learn even from error and sin, and that he would give to us just as generously than if we were doing good or even submerged in prayer?

Or does he withhold his love?

This parable, remember, is telling us about the kingdom of God. It is very different from the kingdom of man.

Thank God for the kingdom of God and for all the differences in that kingdom. That really is good news!

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.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

Don’t the words that litter the liturgy today speak for themselves? There are so many, both the negative and positive.

Beginning with the negative: “wrath,” “anger,” “hateful,” “sinner,” “vengeance,” “refuse,” “enmity,” “death,” “decay,” “iniquities,” “destruction,” “chide,” “requite.”

The positive side speaks, too: “forgive,” “healing,” “mercy,” “pardon,” “set aside,” “cease,” “overlook,” “compassion,” “redeems,” “kindness.”

The reading from Sirach alone, but also coupled with the psalm, overflows with words — words that speak to the power of forgiveness and healing that it brings.

One would think that no further words were needed to bring clarity to the concept of forgiveness and why it is necessary and essential to spiritual wholeness. Yet Jesus’ response to Peter’s question/answer pushes the point to its obvious conclusion, as he once again speaks of the kingdom and tells us the kingdom response that we need to learn and need to live.

In his story of the forgiven servant who does not learn the necessity of forgiving others, we see, as if through a mirror, the ugliness that ensues when one does not learn the lesson of forgiveness.

Indeed, to be forgiven is the best teacher. Once we have experienced it, we can never go back — at least, that is Jesus’ hope for us all.

To forgive, to be forgiven, then to forgive and be forgiven again, is the cycle that should never cease in our lives.

The kingdom of God is like this!

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.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Statement on President Donald J. Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program

Archbishop José H. Gómez
By Archbishop José H. Gómez

I am deeply disappointed by President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

I speak as a pastor not a politician. I cannot address the constitutional or political questions raised by this program. But as a pastor I think we need to clearly understand what this decision means. Today our country is announcing its intention to deport more than 800,000 young people. This is a national tragedy and a moral challenge to every conscience.

As Americans, we are a people of compassion. I do not believe this decision represents the best of our national spirit or the consensus of the American people. This decision reflects only the polarization of our political moment.

Americans have never been a people who punish children for the mistakes of their parents. I am hopeful that we will not begin now.

It is not right to hold these young people accountable for decisions they did not make and could not make. They came to this country through no fault of their own. They were brought here by their undocumented parents or family members when they were little children.

America is their home, the only country they have ever known. Most of them are working hard to contribute to the American dream — holding down jobs, putting themselves through college, some are even serving in our nation’s armed forces.

If we deport them, in many cases we would be sending them back to countries that they have not seen since they were infants or toddlers.

President Trump is right that immigration policy should be made by Congress, not by presidential executive order. Unfortunately, his action today may complicate the search for a legislative solution.

We need to remember that then-President Obama established the DACA program in 2012 because members of Congress could not get beyond their partisan self-interests to come together and fix our nation’s broken immigration system.

It is time for Congress to step up. If we are going to restore the rule of law in this country, then those who make the laws need to take responsibility. We should not allow still another Congress to go by without addressing our nation’s broken immigration system.

America is their home, the only country they have ever known. Most of them are working hard to contribute to the American dream — holding down jobs, putting themselves through college, some are even serving in our nation’s armed forces.


The situation is serious here in Los Angeles. We are home to more than 1 million undocumented persons, many of whom have been living and working here for decades. Nationwide, 790,000 young people have received deportation relief and work permits through DACA. Of those, 223,000 are living here in California, more than any other state.

For the Catholic Church, here in Los Angeles and throughout the nation, these are our people, our family. They are our brothers and sisters; our classmates and co-workers. We pray together and worship together. We will continue stand together as a family and the Church will continue to defend their rights and dignity as children of God.

I am praying today and urging our leaders in Washington to set aside their partisan differences and come together to pass legislation that would simply codify the existing DACA program.

Doing this would permanently lift the threat of deportation that right now hangs over the heads of more than 1 million hard-working young people. It would give them permission to work and it would bring peace of mind and stability to our communities.

This is a commonsense proposal and it should not be controversial.

As Americans, we are a people of compassion. I do not believe this decision represents the best of our national spirit or the consensus of the American people. This decision reflects only the polarization of our political moment.

Congressional leaders in both the House and Senate have expressed sympathy for these young people and expressed their desire that Congress should provide a permanent legislative solution. There is broad and overwhelming public support for DACA — not only among ordinary Americans but among corporate and civic and religious leaders. There should be no reason not to enact a simple bill that would make DACA the law of the land.

I am praying that Congress will rise to this moment and help these young people. And I am praying that finding a solution to DACA will mark the beginning of new work to seek immigration reform solutions in all areas: securing and protecting our borders; modernizing our visa system so we can welcome newcomers who have the skills our country needs to grow; and providing a compassionate solution for those who are undocumented and right now living in the shadows of our society.

Archbishop José H. Gómez is the fifth archbishop of Los Angeles. Reach Archbishop Gomez at (213) 637-7000, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “My sun sets to rise again.”  — Robert Browning.

“Paschal Mystery” is today’s word of God in two words.

It is expressed in several different ways. Jeremiah the prophet declares: “You duped me, O Lord; you triumphed; all the day I am an object of laughter; ... has brought me derision and reproach; I will speak his name no more — but then it becomes like fire burning in my bones.”

The psalm eloquently describes the yearning of the spirit for God and the emptiness without him: “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God; my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.”

The letter to the Romans pointedly challenges: “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.”

Then Jesus foretells his journey and the journey of every disciple: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me; whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

The Paschal Mystery involves dying, emptying, losing, finding, struggling, enduring, thirsting, longing, waiting, being rejected, and the cross. And all of this is about discovering more how to love, how to hope, how to give, how to live.

It would be foolish to think we can make it through this life without the cross. There is physical and emotional suffering, failure, the dashing of our hopes and dreams, betrayal and rejection, misunderstanding, loss of esteem and in the end, death itself.

Are these the crosses we all must bear? Is the cross bearing these struggles like Jesus did, without losing faith or hope in God, looking into the face of hatred and injustice with love and forgiveness, always discovering more within his spirit which could help him to find himself by losing himself?

Jesus models for us a limitless ability to trust and love and find life — even in dying.

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me; whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Are we ready to follow and live the life of the disciple? Are we ready to embrace the Paschal Mystery?

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.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “The first step towards change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”  — Nathaniel Brandon.

A true insight or new awareness should include logic and makes good sense, but more importantly is something deeply spiritual.

We can know facts and details for years without ever rising to the point of insight or new awareness. But when the light goes on and we discover the meaning of something (insight or awareness) we are usually changed in some fashion forever.

Today, Peter and the disciples are changed forever. Matthew, Mark and Luke record this conversation with Jesus and the disciples in which Peter comes to a new awareness. It is only in Matthew, however, that Jesus remarks that “flesh and blood has not revealed this truth to you but my heavenly Father.”

It is on this insight that Jesus proclaims Peter as rock, the one on whom the church is to be built and the new reality from which true forgiveness and reconciliation would flow.

True power — not control — would be shared from this understanding of Jesus, the Christ. True power from our relationship with the Christ – this is the reality that is our rich insight.

How many times have we experienced gifts, discoveries, beauty and wonders flowing out of friendship? It isn’t just knowing a person or simply having them as a friend (the fact of relationship); rather, it is in the unfolding and developing relationship that the goodness and gifts begin to emerge.

They often come through our misunderstandings, and the crashing of different ideas and tastes, and the struggles that come through hurts and letting go — the forgiveness and healing within relationships.

It is not surprising that the conversation between Jesus and Peter that will follow in the Gospel is the harshest statement that Jesus speaks to Peter in all of the Gospels: “Get behind me, Satan.”

The relationship is proclaimed, and then the biggest crashing of ideas happens. Yet Jesus is firmly committed to his friendship and love with Peter and the other disciples. He means to empower them with his love and truth. He means to guide and help them to grow even through confusion and sin — even betrayal.

How deep is his love for them. How deep is his love for us. Even in sin and our own little betrayals, Jesus is firmly committed to his friendship and love with us.

May this insight, this new awareness, grow within us that we may discover the power of Christ’s love within us each day.

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.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” —  Corrie Ten Boom.

When was the last time you heard God speak to you? Was it an audible voice? Did it come through Verizon? Or was it more like the experience of Elijah in the word of God today?

But even Elijah had some difficulty hearing the voice of God. He looked, or rather listened, and did not hear what he expected to hear? Nor did he find the voice where he thought it would obviously be.

Surely, it would be in the “strong and heavy wind” that was “rending the mountains and crushing rocks.” But it wasn’t there that he heard the voice. No doubt it would be in the “earthquake” or the “fire,” since these also were strong, powerful, mighty and quite impressive.

But no, it wasn’t there either that the voice of God was to be heard. The voice of God was only a whisper. The voice of God was in quiet and silence. The voice of God was profoundly not impressive yet spoke directly to Elijah’s heart.

But in the Gospel today the experience is quite the opposite. It is in the midst of a mighty wind on the lake that was tossing the boat in huge waves that Jesus came to the apostles and even invited Peter to walk across the stormy sea.

True, he faltered, but at Jesus’ beckoning he stepped into the rough waters and confidently (at first) began to walk to Jesus.

Fear, however, is a powerful thing, and it often overcomes our deepest convictions. Even then, Jesus reached out to Peter and pulled him back to safety.

When was the last time you heard God speak to you? Was it an audible voice? Did it come through Verizon? Are we looking only in the dramatic and powerful places?

Are we receptive to God everywhere in our lives? Is God present in our struggles, pain, disappointments, failures, silence, dramas, and sin?

Jesus asks Peter and ourselves very directly: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

And doubting is OK. We aren’t perfect. We are very human. We all experience fear. But, hopefully, we too will finally say: “Truly, you are the Son of God.”

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.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “The best proof of love is trust.” —  Joyce Brothers.

The disciples had a profound experience that went something like this, according to St. Matthew: Jesus was transfigured before their eyes; his clothes were shining bright.

Suddenly, the prophets Moses and Elijah were speaking with him. The disciples were apparently not afraid. Peter even said that it was good that they were there, experiencing this moment.

He offered to erect three tents one for each of the esteemed persons in this vision before him. But then things changed. Something more happened. Something filled them with fear and trembling. It was unmistakable. It was unthinkable. It was wonderful.

A cloud cast a shadow over them and a voice came from the cloud IT WAS GOD! But this voice delivered an interesting and inviting message: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”

God was pointing to Jesus in a unique and wonderful way; in doing so, he was offering the disciples an opportunity to recognize something glorious occurring before their eyes. Now they were afraid.

Why could they not accept this remarkable gift from God not in fear but in peace? Why could they not realize that this was perhaps a onetime gift that would never be repeated and, therefore, had to be savored and appreciated?

They were afraid, and Jesus told them not to be afraid. Typical Jesus: He reached out and touched them to reassure them and reached in to offer them peace.

Great lessons fill these scriptures today for us. Let us be alert and prepared for the unmistakable, the unthinkable, the wonderful.

Let us not be afraid to discover God alerting us to the presence of his Son in whom he is well pleased.

Let us not miss this opportunity of grace.

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.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.” — Albert Camus.

What would be worth so much to you that you would be willing to sell everything you own in order to posses it?

Good health, bringing someone back to life, being able to have a relationship with the love or your life, retrieving a child or family member being held against their will, freedom, justice?

Jesus tells us yet more parables about the kingdom of heaven. It is like a treasure hidden in a field – then one sells all they have to buy the field so they can have that treasure. And that person sells all that they have “out of joy.”

Or one sells all they have to buy the “pearl of great price.”

The kingdom of heaven is like a fisherman’s net collecting good and bad fish, then separating out the bad. And those instructed in the kingdom of heaven are like the head of a household who “brings from his household both the new and the old.”

These comparisons seem to be the best way that Jesus can describe the kingdom of heaven. He knows what these examples mean. A treasure, a beautiful pearl, fishing and getting a very mixed catch?

This kingdom is not the treasure or the pearl; it is like selling all you have with joy and selling all you have to be able to purchase, catch, choose and preserve the good.

The kingdom of heaven is dynamic and alive. The kingdom of heaven calls, compels, excites and causes us to make decisions and choices.

The kingdom of heaven illuminates all that we see and want. When the kingdom of heaven becomes alive in us, we find incomparable capabilities to love and to forgive.

The kingdom of heaven allows the cross-response we hear from Jesus’ lips: “Father, forgive them all, they know not what they do.”

The kingdom of heaven is an extraordinary gift to our inner spirit. When it engages us deep within our spirit, we can never be the same.

We are baptized to share in the role of Jesus Christ as priest, prophet and king.

The kingdom of heaven is planted within us in baptism and meant to sweep us up into the divine.

We pray today as always in the Lord’s prayer: “Thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

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.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Prayer Process



This is a process of prayer. I guarantee you those who do it will be changed. How can you not be?

1. Gratitude 

Begin by thanking God in a personal dialogue for whatever you are most grateful for today.

2. Awareness 

Revisit the times in the past twenty-four hours when you were and were not the-best-version-of-your-self. Talk to God about these situations and what you learned from them.

3. Significant Moments 

Identify something you experienced in the last twenty-four hours and explore what God might be trying to say to you through that event (or person).

4. Peace 

Ask God to forgive you for any wrong you have committed (against yourself, another person, or him) and to fill you with a deep and abiding peace.

5. Freedom 

Speak with God about how He is inviting you to change your life, so that you can experience the freedom to be the-best-version-of-yourself.

6. Others 

Lift up to God anyone you feel called to pray for today, asking God to bless and guide them.

7. Our Father

Pray the Our Father.

El Proceso de Orar




Matthew Kelly dice que bonito es tener un proceso de orar que puedan expresar lo que esta en su corazón.

1. Gratitud

Empieza dando gracias a Dios de una forma personal por aquello de lo que estás más agradecido hoy.

2. Consciencia 

Recuerda los momentos en que no fuiste la mejor versión de ti mismo durante las últimas 24 horas. Habla con dios sobre estas situaciones y sobre lo que has aprendido de ellas.

3. Momentos Significativos

Identifica alguna experiencia del día y examina lo que tal vez dios está tratando de decirte a través de ella.

4. Paz 

Pídele a Dios que te perdone por cualquier falta cometida (contra ti, tu prójimo o él) y que te colme de paz profunda y duradera.

5. Libertad 

Habla con Dios sobre como él te invita a cambiar tu vida, para que puedas experimentar la libertad de ser la mejor versión ti mismo.

6. El prójimo 

Eleva a Dios una oración por cualquier persona por quien creas que debes orar hoy, pidiéndole a Dios que la bendiga y guíe.

7. Padre Nuestro 

Termine con un Padre Nuestro.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “I must respect the opinions of others even if I disagree with them.” — Herbert H. Lehman.

Jesus shares a series of parables on the kingdom of heaven, beginning with one about the sowing of seeds. In this one, both good and bad seed are sown.

The slaves of the household want to pull out the weeds, but the master of the house counsels to let them grow up together, then harvest them and separate the good from the bad.

The next two parables are also about growth: the mustard seed, and the yeast that causes the wheat to rise.

Jesus notices that growth comes in many ways. There is the parallel growth of good and bad; there is the surprising growth of something tiny (the mustard seed) that becomes something very big, and there is the growth that comes when something full of potential (yeast) is added.

Growth usually is very slow and incremental. It is hardly noticeable. Over short periods, one usually cannot see it happen. But tracked over a long period of time, it often shocks and amazes us.

Some people mark the growth of their children on the borders of the hallway doors on a monthly basis. Days or weeks probably cannot be recorded. Monthly or quarterly will reveal the growth that has occurred.

Do we recognize our personal growth as Catholic Christians? Do we stop to take a good look at ourselves and appreciate the way the Gospel has grown within us?

Do we mark the growth along the way, perhaps through the sacrament of reconciliation or through good talks and sharing with other people concerned with the growth of their own spirit?

Jesus lifts up the notion of growth because he knows that the grace and love of God, so generously given and so fruitful for our spirit, offers us the opportunity to experience tremendous growth.

Over months, over years, over a lifetime, it simply amazes!

The kingdom of heaven is like the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The kingdom of heaven is now.

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.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts.”  — Confucius.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus “Got out of the boat and sat down ... and he spoke to them at great length in parables.”

As he did so he told them a parable of a man who went out to sow seeds in the field. The seed fell in various places: on the path, on rocky ground, among thorns, on rich soil.

When the disciples asked why he spoke in parables he told them it was because the people “look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.”

His parables ask us to work a little bit, to dig deeper and find the meaning. We are to hear the parable (a brief, succinct story, in prose or verse, that illustrates a moral or religious lesson) and apply it to our lives.

In this parable our hearts, minds and spirit are the soil into which the word of God falls and is to bear fruit. It is meant to be planted deeply which requires of us hearing and listening.

Hearing isn’t enough. If we are able to hear the words, even if we can repeat them, they are of little use unless we listen, too.

Listening means we allow the words to enter into our minds and our hearts. Listening requires a willingness to take it in, accept it, allow it to challenge us, reshape and reform our way of thinking and living.

Listening is active. Listening is faith-filled. Listening is humble. Listening is full of grace. When we listen, we give God room in our souls to clean house and make us new.

Listening is the first real step that leads to understanding. There are so many things out there that can block our listening. Some are overt. Some are hidden, indirect, subtle and very hard to recognize.

The verse before the Gospel prepares us to listen to the Gospel. This verse suggests the attitude or disposition of heart that is required.

Alleluia!

The seed is the word of God; Christ is the sower. All who come to him will have life forever.

Alleluia!

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.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Respect is a two-way street, if you want to get it you’ve got to give it.”  — R.G. Risch.

Once upon a time there was in our Catholic Community a teaching that said Sunday was a day of rest. It was considered serious to observe it. People were told not to work but to go to church, then to rest, be with family, play and enjoy.

What a refreshing idea. We belived that there was value in resting and playing. But too many people today work seven days a week — not only at one or two but even three jobs.

If they do have some time off, and they are lucky enough for that day to be on Sunday, after they go to Mass (if they still do that), they have so many chores at home. Their excuse is that these could never be accomplished during the week.

How refreshing it is to hear these particular words coming from Jesus’ mouth in the Gospel today: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Just to hear Jesus affirm the value of rest, just to hear Jesus invite us to become unburdened and comforted by his love, just to consider that finding rest is something we really ought to do, this is all spoken as divinely wise language — spoken in a prayer to the Father.

It is referred to as “hidden things” – known not to the wise and learned but rather to the little ones. It is the little ones — children — who know the value of play, fun and rest.

The little ones are not burdened by the endless cares of the world. It is this tension between holding on — responsibility — and letting go. Between taking care and being careless. Between taking care of business and closing down the store.

Jesus is speaking the language of wisdom today. Not everyone will hear it. Not everyone will understand him. Not everyone will put it into practice or even see a need for it.

It is a message that should be heeded.

As he says in other places, I think he would say it also today: “Let him/her who has ears to hear — HEAR!”

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.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish as fools.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

“What are you looking for? What did you lose?”

That was the question.

This answer was returned: “I lost myself.”

What does it mean to lose yourself?

Jesus speaks about this in the scriptures more than once and places great emphasis on it. He also speaks of finding self — or picking up your cross — of dying so that you might live.

This is not a superficial game he is suggesting; rather, he calls upon us to go deeply within our inner lives and find — actually, to discover — those areas of life that need to die.

The truth is things get implanted deep within our spirit, and some of those things choke off life.

Think of a time when you were wounded by another person intentionally or only perceived by yourself. Think of the many times that this wound was replayed and revived and reinstated until it became a part of your very self.

Think of the pain, hurt, anger and resentment that soon became inseparable from our inner heart of hearts.

“Let it die,” Jesus said; love something or someone else more than that — Jesus uses strong and vivid language to capture the essence of the decision and the process to make the change.

The kingdom of God is the reality of dying and coming to life and letting go, and grabbing on to something bigger, better, deeper and more loving and wonderful.

Jesus always seeks our joy, hope and desire for God deep within.

“What are you looking for? What did you lose? What have you found?”

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.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Tolerance only for those who agree with you is no tolerance at all.” — Ray Davis.

Through a series of opposites, the Gospel reveals the kingdom of Jesus and the world into which he sends his disciples.

He counters the fear and limitations of that world with the hope, vision and grace of his kingdom: concealed, revealed; secret, known; darkness, light; whispered, proclaimed; kill body, cannot kill soul; small coin, worth more.

The difference between each of these pair of words might make anyone afraid if it were not for the fact that someone great is on our side.

Jesus makes it quite clear that we are not alone and that there is a sustaining, protective and lifegiving love upon which we can depend.

Jesus speaks directly and forcefully as to what we can expect: “Fear no one. Do not be afraid. Even the hairs of your head are counted. I will acknowledge [you] before my Father. Do not be afraid.”

There are a few spiritual and emotional realities that can completely paralyze a person. Among the strongest of these is fear. When one becomes afraid of anyone or anything, very often they cannot summon the courage to accomplish what they want or need to do.

In the face of fear, they become helpless and hopeless.

Jesus understood this well; he counseled to trust and to know deep within our spirit the faithful love of God our Father. He repeated so many times within his Gospel message the same words: “fear not.”

These words of Jesus take on so much more power when one knows the end of the story: The disciples were to face martyrdom because they proclaimed the kingdom of God “from the rooftops.”

The cost of discipleship is great; the rewards are even greater. Fear is one of the only things that can prevent one from trusting fully in the ultimate saving power of God.

It is, therefore, trust in God’s love and care for us that will ultimately encourage us to stand up even in the face of persecution.

This is at the heart of what Jesus proclaimed so explicitly in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are those persecuted for holiness’ sake; the reign of God is theirs. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of slander against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven.”

We take it to heart and find encouragement and hope in Jesus’ command: “Fear no one. Do not be afraid!”

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.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “I speak to everyone in the same way whether he is the garbage man, or the president of the university” — Albert Einstein.

This celebration of the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) highlights two relationships: God’s special and loving relationship with us, and our relationship with one another as the body of Christ.

This feast affords me a wonderful opportunity to express my thanks to all of you – fellow members with me of the body of Christ.

The scriptures today point out how God guided his people out of love and compassion; nothing was left to chance. God led his people out into the desert, and led them eventually, to the place of promise.

He fed them, gave them drink, and protected them from the serpents. Their outer physical journey reflected a parallel inner journey of the spirit.

In John’s Gospel, God continued to care for his people. He sent his Son Jesus, who gave himself to God’s people so completely that he became their very food and drink – to satisfy their deepest hungers and thirsts.

God’s wondrous care promised eternal life and the assurance that we will be raised on the last day.

All of this, and our relationship with Jesus the Christ, especially in Eucharist, bring us into a profound relationship with one another.

Paul tells us we are the Body of Christ. Jesus describes the depth of our unity through Eucharist: “Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”

I am thankful I came to St. Bernard Church five years ago, and this amazing parish has drawn me into this portion of the Body of Christ with profound results for me.

This parish has shaped me, changed me, formed me, challenged me, taught me, and given me new life. Like a family, we have gone through it all.

We have said things, done things, refused to do things that have hurt, challenged, blessed, healed, and loved one another.

We have been asked by God’s Word to forgive. Hopefully, we have done so.

We have worked together. We have become more united – more one, more the Body of Christ.

I am thankful. My heart has been called to love, and I did all I did not just out of duty but for love.

I am thankful that I was a part of this portion of the Body of Christ.

I am thankful to and for you!

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.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.” — Lawrence Sterne.

Love is one of those words that you can define, but it doesn’t mean you fully understand it — or ever can.

It is a mystery. You know when it is there and when it isn’t. The more you experience it, the more you discover the depths of its meaning.

But one thing you know for sure, you can never fully grasp its meaning or power because it is truly mystery.

The Trinity is also mystery. We attempt to define it; we listen to God’s word as Trinity is revealed throughout the Gospels, most especially in John’s Gospel.

We are given rich and beautiful descriptions of the love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and experience this revelation of one God in three persons – this community of love in one God.

There is rich significance in the definition of God that is given to us in the first letter of John: “God is love.”

Because it is this love between Father, Son and Spirit that is God, one can say it, describe it, attempt to define it, proclaim it, listen to the revelation of it, and seek its meaning.

In all of this we keep entering more deeply to the mystery. But the truth is we will never fully grasp its meaning. It is like the proverbial bottomless pit: The more you grasp, the deeper the truth; there is always more.

Once the mystery has been shared and begins to reveal its meaning and power, it becomes more and more a mystery to be experienced. To enter into the love that is Trinity — to open its power and be touched by it, to seek it and discover it, to open one’s mind to it — is the journey.

As Catholics, we do that simply as we begin and end every prayer by marking or crossing ourselves in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Every time we pray, we mark ourselves with the cross, and we mark ourselves with the name of God as Trinity.

We are covered by the love of the cross and covered by the love that is God – the communion of three persons in one God.
We will never fully understand it, and yet we touch the mystery countless times every day in prayer, allowing this mystery to guide, change, and love us.

We are a people of faith, and our lives are formed and transformed by the God we know and love as Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the Most Holy Trinity!

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.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “A person’s a person no matter how small.” — Dr. Seuss.

On Easter night, Jesus appeared to the disciples.

This Easter Gospel tells us that he breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

The gift of the Spirit of God brings forgiveness, allows forgiveness to flow especially through a ministry of forgiveness, and brings healing, peace and new life.

The first reading retells the very Pentecost event in which the Spirit of God comes upon the disciples in a driving wind, filling the entire house, then resting upon each one as tongues of fire.

They were filled with the Spirit, began to speak in different tongues as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

When we listen attentively to these scriptures today, we hear the wonders of the Spirit of God as forgiveness abounds, tongues are loosened, understanding and proclaiming are everywhere, and people’s hearts, souls and lives go through profound conversion.

God is present! God speaks! God touches!

God moves hearts and souls! God forgives!

God invites! God loves!

We are a Pentecost church, born into new life on this day when we remember and celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Our inner life of the Spirit comes from the Spirit of God.

In the words of the traditional song we sing out today: “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love, and you will renew the face of the earth.”

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.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Thank God I found the GOOD in goodbye.” — Beyoncé Knowles.

The 11 disciples went to the mountain to which Jesus had told them to go and he appeared to them.

The scriptures say that when they saw him “they worshiped, but they doubted.”

What a perfectly understandable total reaction the disciples made. They worshiped but they doubted. They understood but they found it too much to fully comprehend. They believed but they had questions.

It looks like the perfect description of the reality we experience with death — both for others and for ourselves.

We do believe, but we do not comprehend completely; and there are opposite, conflicting feelings that a part of the whole experience.

Jesus died, he rose, and now he was about to ascend and return to take his place with his Father.

In this great feast, the reality of our brief existence in this world is described. We are created by our loving God whom we have been invited to call Father. He graces us each day in more ways than we can ever recognize and helps us through our struggles, even when it sometimes seems he has abandoned us.

We pass through this life: some with ease and others with tremendous struggle. We all, however, come to the same end. We pass through the doorway of death and look forward to the promise of Jesus that we would rise and share in the glory of God forever.

Jesus, in his ascension, points the way to our death and resurrection and our final union with God.

It really is too big, and too rich, and too amazing to ever fully grasp. We, too, have our doubts and our struggles to fully understand.

We worship and place our faith in the promise that Jesus tells and shows us in this feast of his ascension.

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.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

St. Bernard Church celebrates the Sacrament of the Eucharist

The St. Bernard Catholic Church first communion Class of 2017 takes a group photograph.

The Eucharist is the sacrament in which we receive the Body and Blood of Christ. The church teaches that Christ is really present in the bread and wine that have been consecrated by the priest at Mass.


Although the bread and wine still look and taste like bread and wine, the substance, what is actually there, has changed.

The roots of the Eucharist are in the Jewish Passover meal. This is the meal which commemorates Israel's delivery from oppression and slavery in Egypt.

Students from our Wednesday and Sunday first communion classes received the Sacrament of the Eucharist for the first time on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

At the Mass


In video



St. Bernard Church first communion students proclaim the word of God during first communion ceremonies at St. Bernard on Saturday, May 20, 2017.





Saturday of the Fifth Sunday of Easter
Saturday, May 20, 2017
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

"This day is special, but it's only the beginning," Father Perry tells us in his homily for our 10 a.m. St. Bernard Catholic Church First Communion Mass. "The reason we receive is to that Jesus can come into us. He said, 'I want to be in you, and I want you to be in me. I want you to be in my love.' This day will be unforgettable. Jesus, whom we know so much because of the scriptures, wants to live inside you and be a part of you, always, never to be forgotten."





Watch as first communion students from St. Bernard Catholic School make their first communion on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

St. Bernard Catholic School celebrates the Sacrament of the Eucharist

The St. Bernard Catholic School first communion Class of 2017 takes a group photograph.
The Eucharist is the sacrament in which we receive the Body and Blood of Christ. The church teaches that Christ is really present in the bread and wine that have been consecrated by the priest at Mass.

Although the bread and wine still look and taste like bread and wine, the substance, what is actually there, has changed.

The roots of the Eucharist are in the Jewish Passover meal. This is the meal which commemorates Israel's delivery from oppression and slavery in Egypt.

Students form St. Bernard Catholic School received the sacrament of the Eucharist for the first time during the month of May, the month of Mary, on Sunday, May 7, 2017.

At the Mass


In video




St. Bernard Church first communion students proclaim the word of God during first communion ceremonies at St. Bernard on Sunday, May 7, 2017.





Fourth Sunday of Easter
Sunday, May 7, 2017
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

"Jesus came to give us abundant life," Father Perry tells us in his homily for the Fourth Sunday of Easter and our St. Bernard Catholic School first communion Mass. "Do you think he wants us sad and sacrificing and miserable, doing what we hate? He wants us to live life abundantly, to be filled with life. So the question is, how do you find abundant life?"





Watch as first communion students from St. Bernard Catholic School make their first communion during the 9:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, May 7, 2017.





St. Bernard Pastor, Father Perry D. Leiker, blesses religious articles and the children make their exit at the conclusion of our special 9:30 a.m. first communion Mass on Sunday, May 7, 2017.



In photographs


St. Bernard Catholic School First Communion, 2017

USCCB president offers condolences to victims and families of Manchester terror attack

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), is expressing shock and sadness in the wake of Monday's terror attack at Manchester Arena.
  
In this moment of national tragedy and grief for England, Cardinal DiNardo has written a letter of condolence to the Most Reverend John Stanley Kenneth Arnold, bishop of Salford and the people of England. 

The Diocese of Salford serves the area of greater Manchester and Lancashire. 

In the letter, Cardinal DiNardo expresses solidarity along with the continued prayers of the church in the United States in the face of such unspeakable loss.   

Dear Bishop Arnold,

Words are not enough to convey the deep shock and sadness with which Catholics and all people of good will in the United States learned of the horrible attack which took place yesterday at England's Manchester Arena.

The unspeakable loss of life, terrible injuries, and untold trauma to families — especially to children — summon prayers from around the world. In a way, I assure you and all those who suffer from this atrocious evil the continued prayers of the Church in the United States.

We commend to the comforting arms of our crucified and Risen Lord the many who have died, and we entrust to Our Lady of Manchester those who suffer.

Evil, as dense and dark as it is, never has the last word. As we prepare to celebrate the new dawn of Pentecost again, may the Easter words of the Risen Christ, "Peace be with you" (John 20:19), settle deep into the hearts of the citizens of your great country.

— Fraternally in the Risen Lord,
Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

***

Bishop John Arnold has issued the following statement following the attack in Manchester on May 22

The citizens of Manchester and the members of the Catholic community are united in condemning the attack on the crowds at the Manchester Arena. 

Such an attack can have no justification. I thank the emergency services for their prompt and speedy response which saved lives. 

We join in prayer for all those who have died and for the injured and their families and all affected by this tragedy. 

We must all commit ourselves to working together, in every way, to help the victims and their families and to build and strengthen our community solidarity.

***

Pope Francis has sent a telegram expressing condolences to the victims of Monday night's bombing of a concert venue in Manchester, England, and condemning the attack, in which at least 22 people were killed and 59 others injured. 

His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the injury and tragic loss of life caused by the barbaric attack in Manchester, and he expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this senseless act of violence. 

He commends the generous efforts of the emergency and security personnel, and offers the assurance of his prayers for the injured, and for all who have died. 

Mindful in a particular way of those children and young people who have lost their lives, and of their grieving families, Pope Francis invokes God’s blessings of peace, healing and strength upon the nation.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Sometimes being lost is the best way to find yourself.” — Lailah Gifty Akita.

In the letter of John, there is perhaps the only definition given for God in the Bible. It is, simply stated, “God is love. He who lives in love, lives in God, and God in him. Wherever there is love, there is God.”

It makes even greater sense of today’s Gospel.

Jesus says to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments ... I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. You are in me and I in you.”

Apart from the language of total intimacy, there is a kind of functional spirituality being described. If you do this, then this will happen to you.

Living Jesus’ words and following his example brings us into a relationship of love and intimacy that makes us one. In this love we will never feel abandoned or orphaned but rather will know his presence, peace, love, care, healing, life, strength, power, and spirit, always growing more deeply within us.

A further piece of this functional spirituality is the connectedness we will experience with God our Father and creator by being in union with Jesus the Christ: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.”

All of this suggests the need for surrender to Jesus’ words and his example. The surrender suggests that trusting and living his words and example will bring about peace and new life.

It is functional: Do it, trust it, and something will change in you, something will begin to happen. You will discover new life, a new spirit.

Or to put it once again in Jesus’ own words: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.”

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.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Sometimes being lost is the best way to find yourself.” — L.J. Vanier.

Jesus promises: “I am going to prepare a place for you… so that where I am you also may be.”

When Thomas questions him, declaring: “We do not know where you are going: how can we know the way?” Then Jesus opens up the mystery. He first explains: “I am the way.”

Then he reveals that where is not so much a place as it is a relationship with and through him. He talks about knowing, seeing, being in relationship, dwelling: “If you know me, then you will also know my Father”; “From now on you do know him and have seen him”; “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father”; “I am in the Father and the Father is in me”; “The Father who dwells in me ...”

Jesus describes the place where he is going to take his disciples is not a location but a relationship. Where we will go is into a place of being with him and with God our Father.

The big revelation is that having a relationship with Jesus IS having a relationship with the Father. Both are one. In this way we begin to really grasp his answer to Thomas: “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

All of these are true. It is the relationship with Jesus that brings us into relationship with the Father.

He IS the way.

Therefore, all that Jesus teaches us, both by word and example, is the truth by which a true Christian lives.

He IS the truth.

Living this truth of Jesus gives us life now, and it gives us life eternal.

He IS the 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.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lies down his life for the sheep.” — John 10:11.

Sheep were often gathered in an area with walls (sheepfold) to keep the sheep in and to keep wolves out. The gate was the only entrance and exit. Sometimes the actual gate was the shepherd who would lie down there to sleep at night. The sheep would not cross over him and he would still provide the protection.

Jesus says today: “Whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. I am the gate for the sheep.”

The sheep trust the shepherd; he calls them by name, they follow him. They will not follow a voice or a person they cannot recognize.

Jesus used this image to focus on his relationship with us. The church uses this passage today, on Good Shepherd Sunday, to extend the image further to those who shepherd in the name of Jesus. We look to our shepherds – priest, deacons, religious, lay leaders – to act in the name of Jesus and to love like him.

We expect them to be faithful to the Gospel and to preach it always. (This is one more reason why the clergy abuse cases have been so disturbing).

There is a saying attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” It is exactly what the Good Shepherd (Jesus) did and what he asks of his shepherds today.

The church needs more good shepherds

On this “Good Shepherd Sunday,” we open our hearts in prayer, asking God to enrich the church with good shepherds.

We need priests; we are a Eucharistic community. We need deacons; they are committed through their ordination to preach and serve the poor. We need religious; they have so many gifts that have built up the body of Christ and served the church for centuries.

We depend upon our religious lay leaders who are liturgical ministers, and catechists who care for the sick and poor, who help to administer the resources of the church.

We don’t just need priests and leaders, we need GOOD SHEPHERDS!

Let us join the universal church throughout the world today to pray for more vocations.

Let us pray with the church of the United States on this Vocation Sunday for an increase in shepherds, especially priests who will continue to form and sustain Eucharistic communities of faith.

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.