Friday, September 29, 2017

Respect Life Sunday | Domingo Del Respeto Por La Vida

This Sunday, our nation’s Catholics are called to renew their personal commitment to defend all human life.

Many Catholics understand this being only to refer to abortion and the pro-life movement. But the church expresses the belief that all human life is sacred "from the womb to the tomb."

Every aspect of human life is to be respected and protected. With that in mind, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops puts forth a worthy list of concerns in its pro-life activities and invites all Catholics to share their concerns over: abortion, post-abortion healing, assisted suicide, conscience protection, contraception, euthanasia, stem cell research, IVF/reproductive technology, and the death penalty.

Every Catholic should become as informed as possible in understanding these issues and in forming their conscience.

Visit the USCCB's Respect Life Program for more information related to Respect Life Month.





Este domingo, los Católicos de nuestra nación serán llamados a renovar hoy su compromiso personal para defender toda vida humana. 

Muchos Católicos entienden esto únicamente con lo referente al aborto y al movimiento pro-vida. La iglesia expresa su creencia de que toda vida humana es sagrada "desde el vientre hasta la tumba." 

Todo aspecto de la vida humana debe ser respetado y protegido. Con esto en mente, la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Los Estados Unidos (USCCB) ofrece una lista digna de preocupaciones sobre: el aborto, la sanación después del aborto, el suicidio asistido, protección de conciencia, anticonceptivos, eutanasia, estudios con células madre, FIV/tecnología reproductiva, y pena de muerte. 

Todo Católico debe estar bien informado y tener en claro todos estos temas y tomar conciencia. Para información relacionada con el Mes del Respeto Por la Vida, visite, USCCB.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us were it found us”. — Anne Lammot.

You have worked for eight hours, you are covered in sweat. You have tired muscles and are aching with exhaustion and hunger. You receive your agreed upon wage for eight hours. Now that is fair.

Someone comes to your work site at the end of the day, works one hour and receives the same wage as you. Now that is unfair!

Does this seem logical? Is there anyone who could create a worse scenario than Jesus does in this Gospel today?

Fair is fair. Unfair is unfair. Jesus, get it right!

But once again that is exactly the point. In the good news that Jesus proclaims, God is beyond fair and unfair. He generously, extravagantly, ridiculously and unconditionally pours out his love, grace and the gift of his salvation. It isn’t earned. It isn’t given out because we put in our required time or efforts. It is pure gift. It is pure love.

He doesn’t give it to some and withhold it from others. He gives it to all. He gives it all of the time.

The scriptures say it in many ways, but one of the most familiar passages says: “He sets his sun to shine on the good and the bad. He pours out his rain on the good and the bad.”

Does this not say it clearly? This good news is so often heard and most often ignored. Most people, when this is played out in real life, find it to be bad news.

If someone doesn’t earn something, they should not get it. That’s fair. That’s good news to most.

The bad news is to find out that someone gets something they did not deserve or earn. Then Jesus comes along and reveals a Father who always loves and always gives, always offers.

It really is too good to be true. But what if we lived a week believing this?

What if, even when we sinned, we believed and trusted and even expected that God was going to lead us to peace and healing, help us to learn even from error and sin, and that he would give to us just as generously than if we were doing good or even submerged in prayer?

Or does he withhold his love?

This parable, remember, is telling us about the kingdom of God. It is very different from the kingdom of man.

Thank God for the kingdom of God and for all the differences in that kingdom. That really is good news!

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, September 17, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

Don’t the words that litter the liturgy today speak for themselves? There are so many, both the negative and positive.

Beginning with the negative: “wrath,” “anger,” “hateful,” “sinner,” “vengeance,” “refuse,” “enmity,” “death,” “decay,” “iniquities,” “destruction,” “chide,” “requite.”

The positive side speaks, too: “forgive,” “healing,” “mercy,” “pardon,” “set aside,” “cease,” “overlook,” “compassion,” “redeems,” “kindness.”

The reading from Sirach alone, but also coupled with the psalm, overflows with words — words that speak to the power of forgiveness and healing that it brings.

One would think that no further words were needed to bring clarity to the concept of forgiveness and why it is necessary and essential to spiritual wholeness. Yet Jesus’ response to Peter’s question/answer pushes the point to its obvious conclusion, as he once again speaks of the kingdom and tells us the kingdom response that we need to learn and need to live.

In his story of the forgiven servant who does not learn the necessity of forgiving others, we see, as if through a mirror, the ugliness that ensues when one does not learn the lesson of forgiveness.

Indeed, to be forgiven is the best teacher. Once we have experienced it, we can never go back — at least, that is Jesus’ hope for us all.

To forgive, to be forgiven, then to forgive and be forgiven again, is the cycle that should never cease in our lives.

The kingdom of God is like this!

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, September 5, 2017

Statement on President Donald J. Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program

Archbishop José H. Gómez
By Archbishop José H. Gómez

I am deeply disappointed by President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

I speak as a pastor not a politician. I cannot address the constitutional or political questions raised by this program. But as a pastor I think we need to clearly understand what this decision means. Today our country is announcing its intention to deport more than 800,000 young people. This is a national tragedy and a moral challenge to every conscience.

As Americans, we are a people of compassion. I do not believe this decision represents the best of our national spirit or the consensus of the American people. This decision reflects only the polarization of our political moment.

Americans have never been a people who punish children for the mistakes of their parents. I am hopeful that we will not begin now.

It is not right to hold these young people accountable for decisions they did not make and could not make. They came to this country through no fault of their own. They were brought here by their undocumented parents or family members when they were little children.

America is their home, the only country they have ever known. Most of them are working hard to contribute to the American dream — holding down jobs, putting themselves through college, some are even serving in our nation’s armed forces.

If we deport them, in many cases we would be sending them back to countries that they have not seen since they were infants or toddlers.

President Trump is right that immigration policy should be made by Congress, not by presidential executive order. Unfortunately, his action today may complicate the search for a legislative solution.

We need to remember that then-President Obama established the DACA program in 2012 because members of Congress could not get beyond their partisan self-interests to come together and fix our nation’s broken immigration system.

It is time for Congress to step up. If we are going to restore the rule of law in this country, then those who make the laws need to take responsibility. We should not allow still another Congress to go by without addressing our nation’s broken immigration system.

America is their home, the only country they have ever known. Most of them are working hard to contribute to the American dream — holding down jobs, putting themselves through college, some are even serving in our nation’s armed forces.


The situation is serious here in Los Angeles. We are home to more than 1 million undocumented persons, many of whom have been living and working here for decades. Nationwide, 790,000 young people have received deportation relief and work permits through DACA. Of those, 223,000 are living here in California, more than any other state.

For the Catholic Church, here in Los Angeles and throughout the nation, these are our people, our family. They are our brothers and sisters; our classmates and co-workers. We pray together and worship together. We will continue stand together as a family and the Church will continue to defend their rights and dignity as children of God.

I am praying today and urging our leaders in Washington to set aside their partisan differences and come together to pass legislation that would simply codify the existing DACA program.

Doing this would permanently lift the threat of deportation that right now hangs over the heads of more than 1 million hard-working young people. It would give them permission to work and it would bring peace of mind and stability to our communities.

This is a commonsense proposal and it should not be controversial.

As Americans, we are a people of compassion. I do not believe this decision represents the best of our national spirit or the consensus of the American people. This decision reflects only the polarization of our political moment.

Congressional leaders in both the House and Senate have expressed sympathy for these young people and expressed their desire that Congress should provide a permanent legislative solution. There is broad and overwhelming public support for DACA — not only among ordinary Americans but among corporate and civic and religious leaders. There should be no reason not to enact a simple bill that would make DACA the law of the land.

I am praying that Congress will rise to this moment and help these young people. And I am praying that finding a solution to DACA will mark the beginning of new work to seek immigration reform solutions in all areas: securing and protecting our borders; modernizing our visa system so we can welcome newcomers who have the skills our country needs to grow; and providing a compassionate solution for those who are undocumented and right now living in the shadows of our society.

Archbishop José H. Gómez is the fifth archbishop of Los Angeles. Reach Archbishop Gomez at (213) 637-7000, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “My sun sets to rise again.”  — Robert Browning.

“Paschal Mystery” is today’s word of God in two words.

It is expressed in several different ways. Jeremiah the prophet declares: “You duped me, O Lord; you triumphed; all the day I am an object of laughter; ... has brought me derision and reproach; I will speak his name no more — but then it becomes like fire burning in my bones.”

The psalm eloquently describes the yearning of the spirit for God and the emptiness without him: “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God; my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.”

The letter to the Romans pointedly challenges: “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.”

Then Jesus foretells his journey and the journey of every disciple: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me; whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

The Paschal Mystery involves dying, emptying, losing, finding, struggling, enduring, thirsting, longing, waiting, being rejected, and the cross. And all of this is about discovering more how to love, how to hope, how to give, how to live.

It would be foolish to think we can make it through this life without the cross. There is physical and emotional suffering, failure, the dashing of our hopes and dreams, betrayal and rejection, misunderstanding, loss of esteem and in the end, death itself.

Are these the crosses we all must bear? Is the cross bearing these struggles like Jesus did, without losing faith or hope in God, looking into the face of hatred and injustice with love and forgiveness, always discovering more within his spirit which could help him to find himself by losing himself?

Jesus models for us a limitless ability to trust and love and find life — even in dying.

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me; whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Are we ready to follow and live the life of the disciple? Are we ready to embrace the Paschal Mystery?

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.