Sunday, July 30, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.” — Albert Camus.

What would be worth so much to you that you would be willing to sell everything you own in order to posses it?

Good health, bringing someone back to life, being able to have a relationship with the love or your life, retrieving a child or family member being held against their will, freedom, justice?

Jesus tells us yet more parables about the kingdom of heaven. It is like a treasure hidden in a field – then one sells all they have to buy the field so they can have that treasure. And that person sells all that they have “out of joy.”

Or one sells all they have to buy the “pearl of great price.”

The kingdom of heaven is like a fisherman’s net collecting good and bad fish, then separating out the bad. And those instructed in the kingdom of heaven are like the head of a household who “brings from his household both the new and the old.”

These comparisons seem to be the best way that Jesus can describe the kingdom of heaven. He knows what these examples mean. A treasure, a beautiful pearl, fishing and getting a very mixed catch?

This kingdom is not the treasure or the pearl; it is like selling all you have with joy and selling all you have to be able to purchase, catch, choose and preserve the good.

The kingdom of heaven is dynamic and alive. The kingdom of heaven calls, compels, excites and causes us to make decisions and choices.

The kingdom of heaven illuminates all that we see and want. When the kingdom of heaven becomes alive in us, we find incomparable capabilities to love and to forgive.

The kingdom of heaven allows the cross-response we hear from Jesus’ lips: “Father, forgive them all, they know not what they do.”

The kingdom of heaven is an extraordinary gift to our inner spirit. When it engages us deep within our spirit, we can never be the same.

We are baptized to share in the role of Jesus Christ as priest, prophet and king.

The kingdom of heaven is planted within us in baptism and meant to sweep us up into the divine.

We pray today as always in the Lord’s prayer: “Thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

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.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Prayer Process



This is a process of prayer. I guarantee you those who do it will be changed. How can you not be?

1. Gratitude 

Begin by thanking God in a personal dialogue for whatever you are most grateful for today.

2. Awareness 

Revisit the times in the past twenty-four hours when you were and were not the-best-version-of-your-self. Talk to God about these situations and what you learned from them.

3. Significant Moments 

Identify something you experienced in the last twenty-four hours and explore what God might be trying to say to you through that event (or person).

4. Peace 

Ask God to forgive you for any wrong you have committed (against yourself, another person, or him) and to fill you with a deep and abiding peace.

5. Freedom 

Speak with God about how He is inviting you to change your life, so that you can experience the freedom to be the-best-version-of-yourself.

6. Others 

Lift up to God anyone you feel called to pray for today, asking God to bless and guide them.

7. Our Father

Pray the Our Father.

El Proceso de Orar




Matthew Kelly dice que bonito es tener un proceso de orar que puedan expresar lo que esta en su corazón.

1. Gratitud

Empieza dando gracias a Dios de una forma personal por aquello de lo que estás más agradecido hoy.

2. Consciencia 

Recuerda los momentos en que no fuiste la mejor versión de ti mismo durante las últimas 24 horas. Habla con dios sobre estas situaciones y sobre lo que has aprendido de ellas.

3. Momentos Significativos

Identifica alguna experiencia del día y examina lo que tal vez dios está tratando de decirte a través de ella.

4. Paz 

Pídele a Dios que te perdone por cualquier falta cometida (contra ti, tu prójimo o él) y que te colme de paz profunda y duradera.

5. Libertad 

Habla con Dios sobre como él te invita a cambiar tu vida, para que puedas experimentar la libertad de ser la mejor versión ti mismo.

6. El prójimo 

Eleva a Dios una oración por cualquier persona por quien creas que debes orar hoy, pidiéndole a Dios que la bendiga y guíe.

7. Padre Nuestro 

Termine con un Padre Nuestro.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “I must respect the opinions of others even if I disagree with them.” — Herbert H. Lehman.

Jesus shares a series of parables on the kingdom of heaven, beginning with one about the sowing of seeds. In this one, both good and bad seed are sown.

The slaves of the household want to pull out the weeds, but the master of the house counsels to let them grow up together, then harvest them and separate the good from the bad.

The next two parables are also about growth: the mustard seed, and the yeast that causes the wheat to rise.

Jesus notices that growth comes in many ways. There is the parallel growth of good and bad; there is the surprising growth of something tiny (the mustard seed) that becomes something very big, and there is the growth that comes when something full of potential (yeast) is added.

Growth usually is very slow and incremental. It is hardly noticeable. Over short periods, one usually cannot see it happen. But tracked over a long period of time, it often shocks and amazes us.

Some people mark the growth of their children on the borders of the hallway doors on a monthly basis. Days or weeks probably cannot be recorded. Monthly or quarterly will reveal the growth that has occurred.

Do we recognize our personal growth as Catholic Christians? Do we stop to take a good look at ourselves and appreciate the way the Gospel has grown within us?

Do we mark the growth along the way, perhaps through the sacrament of reconciliation or through good talks and sharing with other people concerned with the growth of their own spirit?

Jesus lifts up the notion of growth because he knows that the grace and love of God, so generously given and so fruitful for our spirit, offers us the opportunity to experience tremendous growth.

Over months, over years, over a lifetime, it simply amazes!

The kingdom of heaven is like the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The kingdom of heaven is now.

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, July 16, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts.”  — Confucius.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus “Got out of the boat and sat down ... and he spoke to them at great length in parables.”

As he did so he told them a parable of a man who went out to sow seeds in the field. The seed fell in various places: on the path, on rocky ground, among thorns, on rich soil.

When the disciples asked why he spoke in parables he told them it was because the people “look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.”

His parables ask us to work a little bit, to dig deeper and find the meaning. We are to hear the parable (a brief, succinct story, in prose or verse, that illustrates a moral or religious lesson) and apply it to our lives.

In this parable our hearts, minds and spirit are the soil into which the word of God falls and is to bear fruit. It is meant to be planted deeply which requires of us hearing and listening.

Hearing isn’t enough. If we are able to hear the words, even if we can repeat them, they are of little use unless we listen, too.

Listening means we allow the words to enter into our minds and our hearts. Listening requires a willingness to take it in, accept it, allow it to challenge us, reshape and reform our way of thinking and living.

Listening is active. Listening is faith-filled. Listening is humble. Listening is full of grace. When we listen, we give God room in our souls to clean house and make us new.

Listening is the first real step that leads to understanding. There are so many things out there that can block our listening. Some are overt. Some are hidden, indirect, subtle and very hard to recognize.

The verse before the Gospel prepares us to listen to the Gospel. This verse suggests the attitude or disposition of heart that is required.

Alleluia!

The seed is the word of God; Christ is the sower. All who come to him will have life forever.

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, July 9, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Respect is a two-way street, if you want to get it you’ve got to give it.”  — R.G. Risch.

Once upon a time there was in our Catholic Community a teaching that said Sunday was a day of rest. It was considered serious to observe it. People were told not to work but to go to church, then to rest, be with family, play and enjoy.

What a refreshing idea. We belived that there was value in resting and playing. But too many people today work seven days a week — not only at one or two but even three jobs.

If they do have some time off, and they are lucky enough for that day to be on Sunday, after they go to Mass (if they still do that), they have so many chores at home. Their excuse is that these could never be accomplished during the week.

How refreshing it is to hear these particular words coming from Jesus’ mouth in the Gospel today: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Just to hear Jesus affirm the value of rest, just to hear Jesus invite us to become unburdened and comforted by his love, just to consider that finding rest is something we really ought to do, this is all spoken as divinely wise language — spoken in a prayer to the Father.

It is referred to as “hidden things” – known not to the wise and learned but rather to the little ones. It is the little ones — children — who know the value of play, fun and rest.

The little ones are not burdened by the endless cares of the world. It is this tension between holding on — responsibility — and letting go. Between taking care and being careless. Between taking care of business and closing down the store.

Jesus is speaking the language of wisdom today. Not everyone will hear it. Not everyone will understand him. Not everyone will put it into practice or even see a need for it.

It is a message that should be heeded.

As he says in other places, I think he would say it also today: “Let him/her who has ears to hear — HEAR!”

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, July 2, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish as fools.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

“What are you looking for? What did you lose?”

That was the question.

This answer was returned: “I lost myself.”

What does it mean to lose yourself?

Jesus speaks about this in the scriptures more than once and places great emphasis on it. He also speaks of finding self — or picking up your cross — of dying so that you might live.

This is not a superficial game he is suggesting; rather, he calls upon us to go deeply within our inner lives and find — actually, to discover — those areas of life that need to die.

The truth is things get implanted deep within our spirit, and some of those things choke off life.

Think of a time when you were wounded by another person intentionally or only perceived by yourself. Think of the many times that this wound was replayed and revived and reinstated until it became a part of your very self.

Think of the pain, hurt, anger and resentment that soon became inseparable from our inner heart of hearts.

“Let it die,” Jesus said; love something or someone else more than that — Jesus uses strong and vivid language to capture the essence of the decision and the process to make the change.

The kingdom of God is the reality of dying and coming to life and letting go, and grabbing on to something bigger, better, deeper and more loving and wonderful.

Jesus always seeks our joy, hope and desire for God deep within.

“What are you looking for? What did you lose? What have you found?”

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.