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 Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

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