We have begun a new fiscal year here at Nativity of Mary. Those of you who keep an eye on the financial figures that we post in the bulletin every week may have noticed that we finished last year pretty much right on budget. In other words, we collected almost exactly what we thought we would collect. I also can report that, in the past year, we as a parish spent pretty close to what we projected we would spend.
Another way of looking at things is that we gave away everything you gave us!
I’m reminded of a joke I used to use when I was in high school. I would be cruising around town with my friends in the family van and one of my friends would start singing at the top of his lungs to a song that was on the radio. So I would ask him, “What did you do with the money?” He would respond, “What money?” I would smartly retort, “The money your mother gave you for singing lessons.”
So if anybody asks me, “Father, what did you do with the money?” I can happily respond, “We did exactly what we said we would do with it, exactly what we were supposed to do with it. We spent it exactly the way we believe God wanted us to spend it.”
Each year the budget process is for our parish a time of spiritual discernment and prayer. Each year we are compelled to reflect. What are we being given? How can we be good stewards of what we have been given? What is the most creative, blessed, and life-giving way that we can get rid of what we have been given?
That’s what I believe – that we as a parish are to re-gift everything that we are given. I suspect most of you would be angry if you thought that we were taking the collection money and, like Scrooge McDuck, burying it in the backyard. You would say, “How can you just sit on that money when it could be used for this need or that blessing?”
So we try to keep the river of life flowing. I thank all of you who are striving so beautifully to do the same. Somebody recently suggested to me that many people live their lives as if they were seeking palliative care for themselves – merely trying to keep themselves comfortable until they can be put out of their misery at death. God calls us to live our lives far more fully, cheerfully, buoyantly, hopefully, vigorously, lovingly, blessedly, and generously than that.
Throughout this new fiscal year may we as a parish live and flourish in new ways.
Keep the blessings circulating! Thanks Nativity,