Sunday, December 24, 2017

When the ordinary becomes extraordinary

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

Quote of the Week: “The proof of love is deed.” — Venerable Catherine McAuley.

“... For nothing is impossible for God.”

That famous line known by all who have developed within themselves a biblical spirituality is the foundation of today’s scriptures.

God spoke through Nathan the prophet to King David, making it abundantly clear that the issue was not what David could do for God, but what God could do for David.

The letter to the Romans echoes the same message when it proclaims the truth: “To him [God] who can strengthen you. ...”

God is clearly seen as powerful, capable, loving, and desirous of calling, sending and sustaining his faithful ones.

The most intimate statement of the same truth is revealed in the Annunciation in today’s Gospel.

The angel Gabriel brings the call of God to Mary to be the one chosen to bring God into the world in human form through her child, Jesus, the great Incarnation: … “For nothing is impossible for God.”

Then the seemingly “ordinary,” but “wonderful and terrible” events, begin to unfold.

For the eyes of faith, these “ordinary” events would have extraordinary causes and significances. An “ordinary” pregnancy would be the result of God pouring out his spirit in an abundant and fruitful way.

God’s entrance into our world in human form would happen in an “ordinary” birth. Elizabeth, advanced in age, would also experience an “ordinary” pregnancy and give to the world her son John, known as the John the Baptist.

Mary would understand that in her humbleness, her nothingness — God had made her great. Mary gives all of the glory to him, for she understood that “nothing will be impossible for God.”

In her simple understanding and acceptance of her call she responds: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

How many of us people of faith seem so discontent with the “ordinary”? How many yearn for and are fixated on the extraordinary, the miraculous.

Can we not believe that in the “very ordinary” God is present? Can we not believe that in the daily stuff of life that God is working, calling, sending, giving, sustaining?

It is not the events of our lives that need to change; it is more the understanding and appreciation that God is there in “ordinary” life experiences: pregnancy, loss of a job, change of life, graduation, failing a class, death of a loved one, being talked about, giving thanks, marrying, separating. Both in the good and bad — in all of it — God is there.

The challenge is to believe that through it all we are loved.

We will be loved. The grace of God will see us through, for “nothing is impossible for God.”

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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