Sunday, April 30, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “For is we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” — Romans 6:5.

The Dodgers are back, and with them comes the familiar sound on the organ: “Da-da-da-da—da-da! CHARGE!!!”

Every Dodgers fan knows it. The moment the organ sounds, everyone participates in the cry. This sound identifies, energizes, encourages, and unites. It may seem like a strange comparison, but we have something similar, though far more profound in our faith.

Today’s Gospel recalls that the two disciples were walking with Jesus but did not recognize him.

Jesus explained the scriptures so profoundly that later they would recount: “Were not our hearts burning within us as he spoke to us on the way and explained the Scriptures to us.”

It was not until he accepted their invitation, sat down with them, and then did something he had done just days before at the last supper: “He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.”

This experience is our own “da-da-da-da—da-da! CHARGE!!!”, but so much more. This is the experience and the encounter that unites us as Catholics.

It is here in Eucharist that we become one in the Lord. It is here in Eucharist that we come to know the presence of Jesus Christ risen.

It is here in Eucharist that our hearts burn within us, and we are nourished, identified, energized, encouraged and made ONE. The symbols DO what they say. In the symbols, we find Christ, and he feeds and nourishes our deepest hungers and thirsts.

With Christ, as food for our spirit, we can face anything. With Christ as food for our spirit, we can unite together and bring healing, peace, and new life to a hungry and often broken world.

Without food, we die; without Christ as food for our spirit, we certainly have and are less.

We hunger, we thirst, we eat, we drink, and in Christ, we are made whole.

Then, like the disciples in the Gospel today we, too, can recount what happened at the celebration of the Mass, “How he was made known to [us] in the breaking of the bread.”

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.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017 Divine Mercy novena and celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday

On Sunday, April 23, 2017, St. Bernard celebrated the Divine Mercy novena and Divine Mercy Sunday.

The nine-day event was filled with prayer, adoration, song and worship.

Our Lord’s promise of complete forgiveness is both a reminder and a call. 

It is a reminder that he is truly present and truly alive in the Eucharist, filled with love for us and waiting for us to turn to him with trust. 

And it is a call for us all to be washed clean in his love through confession and holy communion no matter how terrible our sins.

He is offering us a new start.



In video


At the Mass




By Father Paul Bergeron

"Once we take our eyes off the Lord, our merciful Lord, we fall," Father Paul Bergeron tells us in his homily for our Divine Mercy Mass. "Sometimes it's embarrassing. Sometimes we think we get away with it. But we fall. And Jesus doesn't want that for us. So always keep your eyes on the Lord. Always know and believe that the Divine Mercy is always with us and with him. We cannot fall. Keep your eyes on the Lord. Keep your eyes on his kingdom, and everything will be given to you, all of your heart's desire, all of the joy, the peace, the love, the compassion, that we search for but cannot find in this life for eternity, which can only be found through the divine, merciful rays of Jesus."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “We live and die. Christ died and lived.” — John Scott.

At Easter Sunday at the Mass of dawn, the Gospel proclaimed that the disciples found an empty tomb — they “saw and believed.”

Even though they did not clearly understand, they needed nothing more. They rushed back to tell the others who believed on their testimony.

It is that readiness to believe that stands in such stark contrast to Thomas. It is no surprise that he has been nicknamed “the doubter.”

Thomas always needed to see in order to understand; he needed answers and explanations. Jesus always took the time to show him and help him see.

Jesus appeared a second time and invited Thomas to put his finger in his hand and side. That was enough. Thomas made an elegant profession of faith: “My Lord and my God!”

We might be inclined to judge Thomas harshly, were it not true of us also. Are we always willing to believe what Jesus tells us? Do we accept his word, or do we also need proof?

In the beginning of today’s Gospel, when Jesus appeared to the disciples, he said to them: “As the father has sent me, so I send you.” He breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

How many of us believe he has done that to us? How many believe that they were called AND sent? How many actually believe they are filled with the Holy Spirit and have gifts to give?

How many have shared ministry within the church because they feel compelled to spread this good news to others?

This Sunday is also called Divine Mercy Sunday because of the proclamation in the second reading that God, in his great mercy, “gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Do we believe that? Perhaps, there is a little bit of the doubter in each of us? Perhaps, we need to be shown and convinced of our importance in God’s plan?

Perhaps, we need to believe that God has actually given us something, called us and is truly sending us forth? Perhaps, upon believing this, we, too, will respond with Thomas: “My Lord and my 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, April 16, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Easter is a time when God turned the inevitability of death into the invincibility of life.” — Craig D. Lousbrough.

Early Easter morning, while it was still dark, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb.

She saw the stone removed and ran to tell the disciples: “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”

Peter and John ran to the tomb, went in, and saw the burial cloths there. The Gospel says simply that they “saw and believed.”

Surely, this is one of the most simple and most profound declarations of faith: They “saw and believed.”

It is even more profound because the very next sentence of the Gospel tells us: “For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”

Is it possible to see, to believe, to trust, and not fully know? This is, in fact, the journey of faith. Does anyone ever fully know?

Is it possible that we can understand, especially the great mysteries of faith, so fully that there is nothing more to learn, to know, to appreciate?

No doubt it is the know-it-all who perhaps knows less than the person of simple faith. Or to say it in another way, there are many ways to know.

Some know with the mind, but have little connection to the heart. Some know and believe fully with the heart, but do not understand, or even have a confused or erroneous understanding. They just believe.

The mature and fully-formed Catholic knowing is to know in the spirit of the shema prayer: to know and to love the Lord “with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”

The Easter testimony of the scriptures reveals an incredible experience in the empty tomb, an equally incredible response of faith, and hints at the road ahead. We are to spend a life of learning, growing, appreciating, and coming to know.

The disciples “saw and believed,” then spent the rest of their lives growing in their understanding and preaching what they believed.

This is the same journey we are invited to make as today’s disciples of Jesus, our risen Lord! 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, April 9, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.” — Henry Ward Beecher.

Passion Sunday (also known as Palm Sunday) is one of the most dramatic Sundays of the year in its presentation of the word.

At the very beginning of the Mass, there is a brief ceremony including the blessing of the palms; a Gospel is also proclaimed. This is the only liturgy in the entire church year that includes two Gospels.

This first Gospel is a recounting of the entrance into Jerusalem by Jesus and his apostles. It is glorious. The crowds are gathered, shouting, waving palms, and exuberantly rejoicing as Jesus enters their city. They shout out “Hosanna! Hosanna to the son of David!”

They want to make him king. Within the same liturgy, the second Gospel — the Passion of Christ — is proclaimed, and the same crowds are shouting: “Crucify him”!

This represents a week in the life of this city. Literally, they are adoring one day then condemning to a horrible death sentence just a few days hence.

Apart from the amazing drama, this sacred text reveals a frightening reality within the human condition: People are fickle; they love, then they hate, then they love, then they hate.

Are we really capable of such extremes? Are we able to be manipulated, controlled, deceived, and then deceive others so easily?

History is made in this Holy Week of long ago. History is also repeated again and again today with tyrants, cruel and controlling leaders, unjust and hate-filled governments, political parties without heart, and a world where graft and corruption run amok.

This day is our day. This day is everyday. This day reveals, in all its ugliness, the fall that has corrupted human nature to the core. This day is the reason that another day soon to follow — Easter — is even more important and even more defining.

Salvation, life, hope, newness, renewal, and metanoia are Easter. This Holy Week that is upon us is our week. We must pause, absorb, hear, feel, receive, unlock, discover, and understand what has been given to us, what has happened to us.

This is indeed drama, and it is more than drama. This is the key to finding abundant life and knowing that life forever.

The “A” word, forbidden during Lenten, returns in all its glory at the Easter Vigil and will be our Easter Song.

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, April 2, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill.

Today, we celebrate the third Scrutiny with our catechumens – the elect.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus promises Martha –  and us – that whoever “lives and believes in me will never die.”

Obviously, he isn’t speaking about physical death, but rather about a death and life that is much more profound.

There are many people who are physically alive who have very little life within. Some of these people are rich and have abundant blessings in this life: good health, opportunity, prosperous jobs, hopeful futures, social standing, excellent education. Everything that we think of as a blessing is theirs.

Then there are some who are poor, in need, without prosperity in material things, who have little opportunity, yet they are filled with peace, love, hope, gratitude, joy, faith.

How can it be? What sense does this make? Why and how does this contradiction exist?

Jesus simply says: “Whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

Jesus speaks of a life that exists deep within our spirit and soul; it cannot be transplanted into someone else. If we perform surgery, we can never find it inside the human body; it is not something that can be bought or sold. It is not material or a commodity, nor can we manufacture this priceless gift of life.

It is something we believe. It is something we discover. It is something that inspires and gives life, because it is in fact a life that is growing within us.

It is so profound and significant that it helped people survive the Holocaust, false imprisonment, a martyr’s death, prejudice, rejection, and being the object of hate and lies and rumors.

This life brings meaning to the days we exist on this planet. Without this life, ordinary living can become meaningless; without this life, people have been known to take their lives, which strangely means to reject their lives by suicide or a daily rejection of life through addiction, living lives of hate, and refusing to forgive.

It’s like love – hard to define, yet you clearly know when it is there and when it isn’t.

This life Jesus offers may be hard to define, but we clearly know when it is there and when it isn’t.

Jesus promises Martha –  and us – that whoever “lives and believes in me will never die.”

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.