Sunday, January 29, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “The measure of love is love without measure.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

Food gives life. Without it, we die. Who appreciates and is more grateful for food: the rich man or the poor man?

Water gives life. Without it, we die. Who appreciates and is more grateful for water: the rich woman or the poor woman?

One might say both are equally so, given the right circumstances. But on a daily basis, under the ordinary daily circumstances of wealth and poverty, who would appreciate more a piece of dry bread and one slice of bologna: the rich person or the poor one?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

After eating three times what you usually eat at a fine Thanksgiving Day feast, could you also consume a 28-ounce piece of the finest cut of steak prepared perfectly to your specifications? Or would you finally admit: “I am full. No more! One more bite and I will burst!”

What do we fill ourselves with? What constitutes our riches? What would be considered, in Gospel terms, our treasure?

In what do we place our hope? What usually is the source of power on which we depend? Where do we go when in need?

Is the answer to any of these different for the rich and the poor?

The Gospel and the rich treasure of wisdom that flows from all of God’s word says quite so. The rich tend to put their trust in money and power, for it usually works for them. They can buy friends (at least superficial ones), service (usually quicker and the best available), and the best quality goods.

Money often puts one first in line. Money, power, prestige and fame often give a person the edge over others. How easy it is to begin to believe that I am in control when my money, power, prestige and fame are getting me what I want.

Have you ever heard the statement: “You’re so full of yourself!”? Is this different for the rich and the poor?

The word of God seems to believe so. The poor run on empty most of the time. The poor are almost always in need. The poor have little quality control over their lives. The poor have few resources to depend on, and those are usually not very dependable.

So what is left? God! That’s it! That’s who! There is nothing else.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

There is hope for the rich, however. The beatitude speaks so clearly: “Blessed are the poor in spirit” — even the rich can attain this. But it is difficult.

Life presents many illusions. We love magic; we love illusions, and humans are easily fooled. Money is among the most tantalizing of illusions and can be quite cold and empty.

How rich are those who know that. Usually, the rich are the ones who have the least amount of difficulty giving it away. But then, these are only words of wisdom.

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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