Sunday, April 15, 2018

His presence was more than just catching up with old friends

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

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” — Buddha.

Failing to recognizing someone you haven’t seen in years is a common experience. It usually includes embarrassment, confusion, frustration, then surprise and delight, as we recognize the person again.

Not recognizing someone because they have gotten older is one thing.

But now knowing someone on the inside is much more difficult; it requires having a close relationship with someone.

Our liturgies over the past two weeks have contained stories of “non-recognition” turned to “recognition.”

Each time, Jesus takes the disciples through the steps: “Look at my hands and my feet”; “Touch me and see.”

Jesus showed the apostles his wounds; he invited them to touch and experience him as real. He proved he wasn’t just a vision or a ghost: After all, he ate food which ended up in his stomach and not on the floor.

But this was more than just a scene of simple recognition or catching up with old friends.

Jesus was acutely aware of and concerned with what was happening inside his disciples’ minds and hearts.

He began again: “Peace be with you.”

Then, observing their shock, terror and confusion — they thought they were seeing a ghost — he asked them directly and simply: “Why are you troubled, and why do questions arise in your hearts?” 

Then as he had done on other occasions, he explained how the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms, had to be fulfilled in him. This included his death and resurrection.

Jesus is equally concerned with our recognition.

Recognizing the stories and words of Jesus is the easy part.

But Jesus seeks for us to experience and recognize in our hearts his presence, call, love, forgiveness, invitations to grow, and promptings of our spirit, every day.

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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