In one of the great ironies of moveable feasts and irresistible forces, this year Divine Mercy Sunday coincides with Tax Day. Even the IRS recognizes the higher authority and its merciful aspect, and yields one day more for us to render an accounting.
We have much to be grateful for this year. If only we were as precise in that as we are with our income taxes! Our thank-offering is financial but not forced by any authority, unlike our income taxes; no need to manipulate the numbers. God knows, and if we are honest, so do we. There are other aspects of faithful stewardship that call out for acknowledgement today.
I cannot tabulate the work, time, and love that went into making our celebration of the Paschal Mystery last week so worthy of the drama it made present. There is no central character in the work, save Christ himself. All of the souls who lent their gifts to His project became truly a part of him and of His saving death and resurrection.
This year I want to acknowledge first all who contributed toward the flowers that made our sanctuary redolent of the very garden itself that Resurrection morn. The fragrance reminded me to pray for you and your intentions as I offered the Paschal Sacrifice. Jessica Barsch and Peggy Hicks oversaw a team of skilled hands who worked quickly in a narrow window of time.
Our choirs and instrumentalists were in the church at least as much as we priests were last week, and it bore great and grace-filled fruit. Richard Fitzgerald led them to new levels of inspiration this year, and while we parishioners may have come to expect their good work, the comments of our visitors revealed the extraordinary level of beauty to which we are happily accustomed.
My personal pride and joy is our corps of altar servers, who not only labored with care and devotion, but even managed to raise my own level of zeal for the exacting tasks of the Holy Week liturgies. They worked without whining or wilting, and have every reason to bask in earned praise. Our lectors carried well, too, the work of unfolding the prophecies and revealing the course of our salvation, plus providing the preaching of the Apostles. The Word is at work in our midst, thanks to them.
If you saw the list of all the things that had to be moved, set out, taken in, cleaned, used, folded, stored, arranged, or remembered, you would find it shocking that so few -- Norma, Mary, Dao, and some others -- did it so much with such efficiency and accuracy. Our ushers helped similarly with the disposition of the people – and oh, were there many of them!
My brother priests, too, put their shoulders to the wheel in admirable fashion. Neither Father DeRosa nor Father McDonell shirked time in the confessional so that souls could be cleansed for the Feast, nor in taking up the taxing work of attentively enacting the sacred rites. Deacon Thom Roszkowski too did yeoman’s work in the sanctuary, and Deacon Droll thinks himself accurs'd he was not here/ and holds his manhood cheap whiles any speaks/ that fought with us upon (that Easter) day!
My gratitude to all these cannot be sufficient, which brings me to the accounting. The crew who counts the collection was here for a long time this week. I thank them for their work, and you for the work that you gave them. But we are off our total from last year, and under budget in our offerings for the year. Which gets us back to the irony of today, that with the Divine Mercy, there are no deadlines.