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.

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