My dear friends,
“What could we possibly be thankful for during this challenging year?”
I’m sure many of you have been asking yourself that question as we approach Thanksgiving Day. Yet we are reminded by St. Paul in his First Letter to the Thessalonians: “In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus (5:18).”
As Christians, we must always have a grateful heart. Even when we think we are at our lowest, and we think that God has abandoned us, we must look around and see the blessings that are sometimes hidden because too often we are blinded by the things that are wrong with our life. So many times I have celebrated a funeral where, while the family is obviously saddened by the death of a loved one, they still find solace in their faith and are able to give thanks for the life of their deceased family member. Our faith always teaches us to find light in the darkness.
So this Thursday, it is only “right and just” to give thanks as we do in the Eucharist every single day. In the Mass, right before consecration, the priest invites you to “give thanks to the Lord our God.” All of you always proclaim that it is “right and just.” In the old translation we used to say, “it is right to give him thanks and praise.” So…
- It is truly right and just to give thanks because we are able to gather in this space to worship.
- It is truly right and just to give thanks because so many have the opportunity to join us virtually through the use of technology that did not exist a few years ago.
- It is truly right and just to give thanks because so many of our parishioners have overcome COVID and are safe at home with their families
- It is truly right and just to give thanks because our ministries have strengthened their prayer life and the formation of their faith during this time apart.
- It is truly right and just to give thanks because we have a God who gave us his only Son and who in turn gave us the gift of himself in the Eucharist.
To quote a song from a musical that our school students are singing constantly: “look around, look around…” and see how good the Lord has been to us. God is so good to us especially in times of trial. We just need to look beyond the darkness to see the hand of God at work in our life particularly when things aren’t going well. A grateful heart is a gift from above, and a gift we must pass on to our children. I always take time in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving by asking our school children what they are thankful for, and one answer that particularly moved me this year was “for waking up in the morning.” We take so much for granted and fail to see the little blessings that God showers upon us each day, and it begins when we open our eyes in the morning and take that first breath after we wake up. “Look around, look around…” there are so many things that we have to be grateful for this year even in the midst of a pandemic.
So as you gather around the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day with all the wonderful food ready to be eaten, don’t forget to bow your heads in prayer to look beyond the challenge that this past year has been and truly give thanks to the Lord for the blessings we barely notice.
God bless you all,