Sunday, November 26, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “The measure of love is love without measure.” — St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

We have all probably loved or cared for someone in our life so much that we declared: “If he’s not welcome here, then neither am I”; or “If you don’t let her play, then I don’t want to play either.”

Our response says: “To not accept my friend is to not accept me.”

Jesus not only speaks in this manner, but he says two more things which clearly makes this one of his most demanding teachings. It is also the testimony of his manner of living.

First: He identifies not just with his friends, or with those whom he loves, or those who love him.

Rather, he identifies with the “least,” the most “insignificant.”

He tells us that what we do to them we do the same to him; what we fail to do to and for them, we fail to do to and for him. In so doing, Jesus raises the bar of loving and caring to include everyone.

At the same time, he raises even higher the bar of expectation so that our lives are called to become lives of love, service, caring, generosity, compassion, outreach, understanding, forgiveness, reconciliation, and respect.

Our Lord is seeking nothing less than total transformation of our thinking and acting. 

Second: Jesus makes this issue so important that he presents it as the condition of our judgment. He describes the scene in which these words are spoken as the judgment scene with the Son of Man seated upon his throne.

There could not be a more frightful or definitive place to speak these words.

In other words, Jesus means for these words to be taken quite seriously.

And why would he not? Isn’t the safety and salvation of all in this life dependent upon this kind of caring?

If individuals and whole peoples can end up being the “least” and most “insignificant,” doesn’t this teaching grant them the possibility of hope? Isn’t the opposite of this hope simply suffering and despair?

Imagine proclaiming this passage to someone in prison or on death row. Imagine hearing this spoken to us by our worst enemy, or by the person we cannot or will not forgive.

It seems to be an impossible teaching; it is way too much to expect!

Unless, of course, it is meant to invite us to become more like Christ himself and to transform us into a people who love one another as God loves us.

So says Jesus: “I have the words of everlasting life!”

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.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Go home, think, speak about one thing you're grateful to God for

"Go home today and think about and speak about one thing you're grateful to God for. One thing, that you name it," Father Perry tells us in his homily for our annual Thanksgiving Day Mass.

"And then after Thanksgiving dinner, you say in front of everyone else, 'I want to thank God for ...' and name one thing. This is a good Samaritan who receives a generous blessing and is filled with gratitude."

USCCB president makes Thanksgiving Day appeal for protection of the vulnerable

Cardinal Daniel N.
By Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo

As we do every year, we will pause this coming Thursday to thank God for the many blessings we enjoy in the United States. My brother bishops and I, gathered last week in Baltimore, were attentive in a special way to those who are often excluded from this great abundance — the poor, the sick, the addicted, the unborn, the unemployed, and especially migrants and refugees.

My brothers expressed a shared and ever-greater sense of alarm — and urgency to act — in the face of policies that seemed unthinkable only a short time ago: the deportation of Dreamers, young hard-working people who should be the lowest priority for deportation; the anxiety and uncertainty of those with Temporary Protected Status from countries like Haiti, El Salvador, and Honduras, which are still recovering from natural disasters and remain ill-equipped to humanely receive and integrate them; and an unprecedented reduction in the number of people we will welcome this year into our country who seek refuge from the ravages of war and religious persecution in their countries of origin.

One common feature of all these developments is their tendency to tear apart the family, the fundamental building block of our, or any, society. These threats to so many vulnerable immigrant and refugee families must end now. My brothers have urged me to speak out on their behalf to urge the immediate passage — and signature — of legislation that would alleviate these immediate threats to these families.

Another common feature of these policies is that they are symptoms of an immigration system that is profoundly broken and requires comprehensive reform. This is a longer-term goal, one that the bishops have advocated for decades to achieve, and one that must never be overlooked. Only by complete reform will we have the hope of achieving the common goals of welcoming the most vulnerable, ensuring due process and humane treatment, protecting national security, and respecting the rule of law. We are committed to such reforms and will continue to call for them.

So this year, I give thanks for the gift and contributions of immigrants and refugees to our great nation. I also pray that next year, families now under threat will not be broken and dispersed, but instead will be united in joy around their tables, giving thanks for all the blessings our nation has to offer.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving all!

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Looking Ahead

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

Quote of the Week: “The greatest talents often lie buried out of sight.” — Plautus.

When we give to the poor, do we give so that we will receive thanks? Do we give because we believe that reaching out in love and compassion is a right or good thing to do?

Where is the reward? Is it receiving thanks from the person or aligning our actions and cares of the heart with something we believe?

Today’s Gospel speaks of multiplying one’s talents or burying them out of fear.

Using and giving our energy, time and talents to others, and using and sharing our money with others, are ways of multiplying.

Burying any of these out of fear freezes, paralyzes, stagnates, lessens and destroys even the hope that something more might come about by the use or sharing of our talents, energy, time or money.

To put it in Gospel terms: “For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what little he has will be taken away.”

Giving and sharing talents, time, energy and money is a gift given and received; giving and sharing are a reward.

This is the great secret revealed by Jesus. This is the key given to open the doors of inner peace and happiness. Jesus understood this. Jesus taught this. Jesus gives this as gift.

Every once in awhile, people will say, “Father, after I have given so much money to the church,” or “so many hours of service. Doesn’t the church owe me something in return? Surely, the church should make an exception for me.”

It is an interesting comment. When we give to the church of our talent, energy, time, or money, do we need to ask ourselves why we give? Is it to give thanks to God for all he has given? Is it so we can be paid back in special favors? Is it to be recognized?

Or is it because we have discovered that Jesus’ words are absolutely true?

It is because we hear the echo of Jesus’ words in our heart: “Come share your master’s joy”?

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.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Misa fúnebre, bendicion y último adios para Clemencia Buendía, feligrés de la iglesia de San Bernardo

Clemencia Buendía
Por la familia Buendía

Clemencia Buendía era la mayor de nueve hijos. Nació en Manzanillo, Colima, México en 1936. Su familia era pobre pero humilde y apreciaban lo poco que tenían. Esa humildad la preparó para la vida. Su vida era tener fe en Dios. Dios la guió en su camino por la vida. Estamos seguros que nunca nos faltaba nada. Reuniones familiares hicieron reír a mamá. Estaba contenta con tener sus hijos, nietos, y bisnietos todos juntos en su casa. Por toda su vida, mamá nos dio amor, paciencia y compasión. No era fácil crear a seis hijos, pero ella siempre nos hizo sentir su amor y apreciación. Dios la bendijo con un regalo que no todos reciben. Tenía el privilegio de dar a luz uno de sus nietos. Todos sabemos que esto fue una de las más felices memorias de su vida. Su generosidad no era solamente para su familia; fue extendida a sus amigos, comunidad, y parroquia. Clemencia era miembro del Grupo Guadalupano por muchos años. Siempre estaba lista para asistir en cualquier proyecto de la iglesia, y lo hizo con amor y entusiasmo. Esta era nuestra mamá — verdadera a su fe, a sí mismo, y a su familia. Hay tristeza en nuestros corazones, pero estamos contentos sabiendo que mama y papa estan juntos de nuevo en la vida eterna. Agradecemos a Dios por darnos nuestra mama. Vivirá siempre en nuestros corazones y en nuestras memorias.

Clemencia murió a los 80 años en Los Angeles noviembre 3 de 2017.

Clemencia es sobrevivida por hijos Noel Buendía y George Luis Buendía; hijas Angelica M. Gonzalez, Yolanda Faucher, Leticia Buendía-Cruz, y Sylvia Kerns; 17 nietos, siete bisnietos, tres hermanas, y cuatro hermanas.

Homilía para la Misa fúnebre de Clemencia Buendía, feligrés de la iglesia de San Bernardo

Bendicion y último adios para Clemencia Buendía, feligrés de la iglesia de San Bernardo

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Looking Ahaead

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

Quote of the Week: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” — Rick Warren.

While dining at the house of one of the leading Pharisees, Jesus tells all in attendance a parable.

This parable was not planned; rather, it was the result of something that took place at this meal.

The Gospel tells us: “The people were observing him [Jesus] carefully” while he (Jesus) was “noticing how they were choosing places of honor at the table.”

It’s kind of harmless, it would seem. Not to Jesus. Jesus recognized something so common about people and also something so detrimental to their interior life.

Seeking praise and honor, trying to be noticed or recognized, wanting to be first or most important — these are behaviors that we so easily can spend a lot of effort trying to achieve.

Jesus points out on a social level how embarrassing it can be when we mistakenly assume our importance in the eyes of others, which can lead to our being “put in our place” and humbled.

Far better, he says, to assume a humble place and perhaps find ourselves exalted, praised, lifted up to a higher place and then enjoy the esteem of others.

But I suspect that there is more at play here.

What happens within us when we are seeking, plotting, planning, and trying to achieve and get from others some sense of our personal importance?

Is it important how others see us? Is it more important how we see ourselves? Most important of all, might we not just be a little bit concerned how God sees us?

Of course, always with love, compassion, mercy and peace.

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.