Yesterday, we noted in the celebration of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord that, “It was devoid of the very same thing that was absent from the bulletin – it was devoid of solemnity.” The bulletin did not reflect that it was even a solemnity. And, even though our Pastor celebrated the Ascension, it was lacking in many things that could have been there to provide nourishment to the sheep. There were no altar boys, no bells, and seemingly little preparation for the homily.
Today, we attended the 8:30 AM Mass at St. John the Baptist. Even though the Pastor had just returned from a week long pilgrimage to Rome, he presented a thoughtful and inspiring homily that revealed the depth and beauty to be found in the Ascension. He wore gold vestments and was served by eight altar boys. The music was appropriate and added to the Solemnity. It was a feast and my wife and I partook in that feast.
So, I asked myself why was our Pastor under prepared? We knew that he did not offer Mass at St. Peter’s on Thursday or Friday. Was part of his under preparation due to that absence? Where was he?
We did some research.
Thursday, May 14 – Sunday, May 17 was the Arlington Cursillo’s 144th Women’s Weekend. Our Pastor was the Spiritual Director. That’s where our Pastor was – he was taking care of other sheep. Meanwhile, the Sheep that are directly in his charge were without a Pastor. According to the144th Women’s Weekend Schedule, his preparation for this Cursillo weekend took several weeks, actually since March.
We need not belabor the point. The absence of solemnity for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord at St. Peter’s this weekend was in at least some ways the result of the absence of the Pastor, who was off taking care of his apparently higher priorities.
Yet, as the Pastor of St. John the Baptist was able to show, even though he was thousands of miles away, he was thinking of his flock. And, even though he was surely tired from the long journey, he was up early this morning, ready to provide nourishment and sustenance to the Sheep the Lord has directly entrusted to his care.