Sunday, March 26, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, faith looks up.” — Anonymous.

The Second Scrutiny comes alive for our elect, as they reflect with the community upon real seeing; that is, seeing what occurs even deeper than seeing with our physical, human eyes.

You see (understand) that many who see (vision) with 20/20 sight are completely blind in the spirit. That kind of seeing (inner vision) requires openness of the spirit and a willingness to be children of the light.

True seeing is common to every faith. Interior blindness — lack of real sight or insight — happens when people close their spirit to the kind of truths that can only be known by the spirit.

In the story of the “Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a famous quote says it perfectly: “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”

The Gospel today provides us with the story of the man born blind and healed by Jesus. It is a story of seeing and blindness. The double meanings go back and forth between physical and spiritual seeing, and physical and spiritual blindness.

The blind man has both kinds of blindness, but through healing receives both kinds of sight. The Pharisees have physical sight, but once again display their incredible spiritual blindness; they never see God’s work at hand before them. They never see that Jesus is Messiah and the fulfillment.

Rather, in their spiritual blindness, they condemn, ridicule, punish, and use the law as an excuse to hate and destroy. Nothing good comes from them in this story except by comparison; they show how God-filled are the actions of Jesus.

The climactic truth is finally expressed in the Pharisees’ own question before Jesus: “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”

Jesus said to them, “If you were blind (physical), you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ (while choosing spiritual blindness/stubbornness) so your sin remains.”

Why is seeing with the heart so difficult? Why do we resist? Why can’t we surrender? Why can’t we trust love rather than to trust fear?

Jesus puts one simple question to the man whose sight is restored: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

If our answer, like his, is yes, then we will see.

That yes, however, means that we believe in his teachings, his example, his way of life, his values, his surrendering to God, his unequivocal yes to loving always, his preference for the poor and marginalized, his refusal to be blind followers of the law.

Yes to Jesus is yes to seeing!

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.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Holy Week and Easter schedule, 2017

During these weeks of Lent, the church has urged us to make the journey to Holy Week and Easter.

By prayer, penance, and works of charity, we seek to be ready to celebrate the saving mysteries of our redemption in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection, of Jesus.

Please join our parish family for the special liturgies by which we will enter into these mysteries and experience the great love of God for us.

We wish you and you family a blessed Easter, filled with peace and joy.

April 9 | Palm Sunday


  • 5 p.m. | Saturday vigil Mass in English
  • 8 and 9:30 a.m. | Sunday Mass in English
    • Solemn blessing of palms and procession begins at 9:20 a.m.
  • 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. | Sunday Mass in Spanish
    • Solemn blessing of palms and procession begins at 10:50 a.m.

April 10 | Monday of Holy Week


April 11 | Tuesday of Holy Week

  • 8 a.m. | Daily Mass in English

April 12 | Wednesday of Holy Week

  • 8 a.m. | Daily Mass in English
  • 7 p.m. | Mother of Perpetual Help Mass and novena

Holy Triduum

Called the Holy Triduum, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the three most sacred days of the year. These are days of quiet reflection and prayer for everyone, including our parish priests. 

Daily morning Mass at 8 will not be celebrated during the Holy Triduum; the 5 p.m. Saturday vigil Mass will not be celebrated on Holy Saturday. Daily morning Mass resumes at 8 a.m. on Monday, April 17.

April 13 | Holy Thursday
  • 7 p.m. | Mass of the Lord's Supper
    • Adoration until midnight in the parish hall

April 14 | Good Friday
  • 1 p.m. | Stations of the Cross
  • 2 p.m. | Solemn liturgy of the Lord's Passion, with holy communion in English
  • 4 p.m. | Living Stations of the Cross
  • 6 p.m. | Solemn Liturgy of the Lord's Passion, with holy communion in Spanish

April 15 | Holy Saturday
  • 8 p.m. | Easter vigil Mass in English and Spanish

April 16 | The Resurrection of the Lord
(Easter Sunday)

This is no ordinary day we celebrate. This is NOT just another day. "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad!"

  • 8 and 9:30 a.m. | Sunday Mass in English
  • 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. | Sunday Mass in Spanish

June 4 | Pentecost Sunday
  • 8 and 9:30 a.m. | Sunday Mass in English
  • 11 a.m. and 12: 30 p.m. | Sunday Mass in Spanish

June 5  | Ordinary Time resumes
  • 8 a.m. | Daily Mass in English

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “A chip on the shoulder is the heaviest load anyone can carry.” — Anonymous.

This week, the catechumens throughout the church celebrate their first scrutiny; they take a close look at their inner life (scrutinize) and notice any things that are keeping them from following Christ completely.

In this examination, they make the choice to tear out of their lives the obstacles to following Jesus Christ completely.

The Gospel of the Samaritan woman at the well is the story that tells of a very deep and intimate conversation between herself and Jesus.

Jesus sees the woman and her life fully; he reveals inner truths to her that convinces her that he is a prophet. When she runs home to her townspeople she shares her newly discovered faith: “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?”

Their initial curiosity turns into a convinced faith after they meet the Lord. Their own words will finally reveal their conviction: “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

Is this not the journey of every Christian? Do we not have to have an experience of Jesus Christ that goes beyond liking or loving his words, his teachings, his way of life?

The woman of Samaria represents something inside each of us. When we begin to recognize God’s love for us that accepts us as we are with all of the good and bad choices we have made, then we begin to know her experience.

When who we are is more than what we have done or not done with our lives, we begin to appreciate this woman’s testimony.
Jesus shows to her understanding of her life. She experiences being known, being accepted.

Today, our catechumens take a good look at their lives; they open their lives up fully to the Lord as they admit their sins and obstacles to a full commitment of faith.

This scrutiny allows them to be like the woman at the well. They need to know that Jesus, indeed, tells them everything about their lives and still loves them, still accepts them.

They need an experience of the savior of the world that is personal, intimate and real.

This is what turns an admiration for a faith into a fully lived and transforming faith. We are all that woman at the well. This is what makes a true disciple.

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.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Healing and reconciling during Lent

Healing and reconciliation are at the heart of our Christian life.

It is Jesus' call and gift to us.

Several priests will be available in special Penance/Reconciliation Services throughout our neighborhood during Advent so all can prepare for the birth of the Lord with a healed, reconciled and renewed heart.

This is time to clean house, to get rid of guilt and experience healing an renewal. All are welcome.

Penance services

March 31
7 p.m. at St. Dominic Church (2002 Merton Ave, Los Angeles)

April 3
7 p.m. at St. Bernard Church (2516 W. Ave. 33, Los Angeles)

April 4
7 p.m. at St. Ignatius of Loyola Church (322 N. Ave. 61, Los Angeles)

April 6
7 p.m. at Divine Saviour Church (610 Cypress Ave., Los Angeles)

Note: Confessions at St. Dominic will be at 6:30 p.m. every Friday.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.” — Anonymous.

“Listen! If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts! Listen!”

The Transfiguration of Matthew sends an important message not only to the disciples who shared the moment with Jesus, but to all of us – every Christian.

Jesus took three disciples with him up the mountain, the place where sacred things occurred; there they experienced God’s presence. Moses and Elijah appeared standing near Jesus. Immediately, Peter felt the need to do something; he wasn’t content or peaceful enough to just take in the experience, and it wasn’t enough to simply receive what God was clearly giving to them. He wasn’t aware that, in that moment, God was calling him.

So while Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them all. In fear, the disciples fell face down on the ground. A voice — the voice — of God spoke: “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”

Jesus then touched them saying: “Get up and do not be afraid.” When they did get up, they saw just Jesus.

What a scene, what a moment! The amazing and the ordinary stood side by side. Visions of prophets, a glorified transfiguration, bright lights, and voices, all streamed together to call the disciples deeper into the mystery of God revealed in Jesus.

This scene was calling the disciples to faith. Initially, they feared, because it really was too much. But at the gentle touch of Jesus, the disciples were once again called not to fear but to have faith.

This whole experience was a very deep call to enter more deeply into the unfolding mystery of Jesus who asked for the mystery to be fulfilled before they shared it with others.

How does this story call us? Do we ever experience the voice of God clearly speaking to us in the ordinary? Do we have mountaintop experiences in church, at work, in our family, with neighbors, with friends, or with enemies?

Do we find ourselves fearing, then being touched, only to discover we are being called to faith?

Grace is, indeed, amazing. God is always at work in all things. Faith leads us to see and understand in new ways; to be open, waiting, wanting, seeking is the attitude we need to experience those little mountaintop moments again and again.
Not fear, but faith!

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.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.” — Anonymous.

Lent begins.

Jesus, led by the Spirit, goes into the desert for 40 days and nights.

He fasts. He ends up hungry, vulnerable, weak, stripped of every comfort and support — he is spiritually and emotionally naked.

Now the devil comes. Now Jesus is tempted when he is least capable of depending upon his own strengths. This is high drama; everything is stacked against Jesus. Clearly, there is no way he can prevail.

To stand up against the temptations of the devil or evil in good times — when one is strong — is dangerous; and when one is weak and exposed, it's lethal. But this is high drama. The stage is set and, in the end, truth is predictable.

Jesus, from the first moments of his ministry, makes things quite clear. He has come to do his Father’s business. He depends upon the Father and trusts him in all things. He is never outside or removed from his Father’s care.

In the best biblical tradition, he sees God his Father as his stronghold, rock, safety, defense, life, and his all. So when faced with the devil’s temptations in the midst of weakness and vulnerability, Jesus does what makes sense and the only thing he can and will always do: He places all of his trust in God his Father.

He never falls for the easy way out. He never trusts in superficial comforts. He digs down into the deepest part of his spirit and clings to his faith in God his Father. He proclaims that there is more to life than bread, that one should never test God, and only God is deserving of worship. He is so utterly connected to God that temptation has no real chance with him.

We are asked, in faith, to attempt to experience the same during this Lent. We are invited to strip away comforts, lessen our dependence on things that make us feel good, and deny our use of whatever makes us feel safe and secure.

At the same time, we are called to follow the example of Jesus by digging down into our unprotected spirit and, alone and a little bit vulnerable and hungry, to place dependence on God and celebrate dependence on God.

We do it alone, as we do it (at the same time) with 1 billion Catholics on the face of the earth; ultimately, we must experience this deep within — alone — even while standing next to someone experiencing it alone, too.

God breathes his life into us, fills us with his Spirit, places us in the garden, gives us everything to eat and enjoy, and asks only one thing: “Do not eat of this tree.”

The stage is set for sin, grace, trust, obedience, temptation, and pride. Do we stand tall, or fall?

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.