Everyone likes cookies. Cookies are good. But some cookies are better than others; bakery cookies are better than packaged, and specialty store cookies better yet. But you can’t beat homemade goodies made by the hands of someone who knows and loves you, and made with you in mind.
Last weekend as we ate one of the quick meals we shoehorned in amongst the liturgies of the Triduum, Fr. McDonell, seminarian Ben Petty, and I were all marveling at the genuine and human reality that marks our liturgical worship. Every element is personal and presented live and in the moment; nothing is prefabricated, prerecorded, or packaged. Nothing is live-streamed from elsewhere, or broadcast to audiences who are elsewhere. This makes our worship an action of the moment, and once it is over, there is nothing left. Even if you could catch it later on YouTube, it would not be the same thing. Nope, it is done, and then gone like a puff of smoke. Let my prayer rise before you like incense, the raising of my hands like an evening oblation. (Ps 141:2)
The music we enjoy and participate in is a perfect example. It is all made live and on the spot. If it were at a concert, tickets would be expensive for the level of music we enjoy. People who know us and love us, and who know and love God, offer this to God, with us and for us. Heck, most of it does not even go through any electronic amplification on its way to your ears, and God’s! And last week it was marvelous.
All this personal immediacy requires a lot of persons. You should have seen the swarm of folks that came out under the leadership of Jessica Barsch to put flowers in our sanctuary. The folks who put out the reception on Easter Sunday, beginning very, very early – or cleaned it up after everyone else had gone home to their own celebrations. The Scouts who kindled the New Fire at the beginning of the Great Vigil. The ushers who helped with the collections and many more logistics besides. Don’t forget the lectors, who brought all those Scriptures of both the prophecies and their fulfillment, to life and light for us.
I particularly want to draw your attention to my altar servers, who worked very, very hard and did a brilliant job with all the complicated liturgies. All required preparation and practices, hours of work you didn’t see, so that you could witness the Paschal Mystery made manifest in your midst. And it looked like they do it all the time! They were a pleasure to work with and made me very proud, but most of all, their offering was pleasing to God, for whom they did it.
Our regular crew of rectory and parish staff all work extra hard in the days leading up to and through Easter, especially Anthony Dao, and all our sacristy and sanctuary workers, especially Mary and Norma. There is a good reason the offices are closed on Easter Monday – everybody is exhausted.
The Risen Christ chose to manifest himself to us not in a box or in a book, much less a recording or reminiscence, but in the common experience of something that most closely resembles dinner of a large extended family. And like that festive meal, this one required a lot of work and a lot of love from a lot of people. And they served it to you.
You have something better than the best homemade cookie here! So, all these people whom you know well and with whom you share so many activities and interests, who know you and love you, went to all this work whether while you watched, or beforehand, or behind the scenes, just to make this gift to you and to God for and with you – and me. Join me in saying Thank you. And thank God! Truly He is risen! Alleluia!