Sunday, February 11, 2018

More than ever, we need to hear Jesus speak

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

Quote of the Week: “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also filled with the overcoming of it.” — Helen Keller.

“One who bears the sore of leprosy shall keep his garments rent and his head bare: He shall cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean!’ since he is in fact unclean. He shall dwell apart.”

This was the sentence bestowed upon the leper. He will be separated from family, community, human touch, closeness and intimacy.

To be healed of leprosy was to have one’s life given back to them. It is no wonder that, no matter where Jesus went, no matter how he tried to go off to deserted places to pray, they always found him; they searched him out.

They looked everywhere, because they were in need of healing, liberation from evil, clear teaching, and truth that could lift their spirit.

Jesus had it all. Jesus gave all. Jesus gave people back their lives. Jesus showed them the way. Jesus opened up the meaning and the power of God’s kingdom to them.

We live in a world inhabited by hundreds of millions more people than in Jesus’s time. We have bigger issues, more disease and illness, poverty, greater political divides, unprecedented social and financial complexities, more educated people, and — at the same time — lingering illiteracy.

With over 6 billion people on the planet, we are facing issues such as the availability of clean air and water, climate change, and new or unpreventable or untreatable infectious diseases.

Instead of becoming more manageable and understandable, the world is becoming more difficult, congested, complex and divided.

More than ever, we need to hear Jesus speak. We need his healing touch.

We need Jesus’s promise of the kingdom. We need our hungers and thirsts — deep within our individual and collective spirit — satisfied.

More than ever we need to echo the words of the psalm today: “I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.”

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, February 4, 2018

Jesus is the healer and restorer of life

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

Quote of the Week: “Our greatest fulfillment comes from giving ourselves to others.” — Henri Nouwen.

Job speaks of a life filled with misery, drudgery, troubled nights and restlessness without hope.

Paul speaks of spending his life in the service of the Gospel, to preach it free of charge to all persons: “I have made myself a slave to all so as to win as many as possible. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some.”

Jesus was pressed by the crowds at night and at dawn; they sought him out. He “went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.”

But they pursued him, whole towns who were seeking healing and to be freed from demons; Jesus spent himself for others.

In each of these readings today, there is an emptying of self, yet for very different reasons and with very different results.

Job found emptiness that became meaninglessness; Paul found ultimate meaning in preaching the Gospel. To this end, Paul dedicated the rest of his life.

Jesus was pursued; no matter where he went, he was found. Not only did he know there was meaning in what he said or did, the people knew it, too, and sought what he had to offer to restore their lives.

In John’s Gospel, Jesus would finally say: “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

It couldn’t be put more simply. Jesus as healer and restorer of life is the Jesus that many still seek today. The greatest healing throughout the Gospels goes to and comes from the center of the Spirit in each of us. It is there that we open up to God to find strength, meaning, hope, life, truth, and the way.

The Responsorial Psalm invites our praise of the Lord, “who heals the brokenhearted.”

Let us lift up our hearts! Let us lift them high and sing out our praise to the Lord who: is good, is gracious, who rebuilds and gathers, who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds, who calls each by name, who sustains, and in whom there is wisdom without limit!

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.