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.

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