Thursday, November 25, 2021
Holy Ghost Church – 8:00 Mass
Sirach 50:22-24; Psalm 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Luke 17:11-19
The poor lepers in today’s gospel were forced to live in isolation from their fellow men. They also suffered the misery of the skin disease itself. In addition to their emotional and physical suffering, nine of the ten lepers seemed to be infected with the “leprosy” of ingratitude.
The man who returned to Christ, however, sets us an admirable example for us all. All of us here today have been cured of much worse than leprosy. We’ve had our sins forgiven!
We have so much to be thankful for! Do we really believe that we have been adopted as children of God? Do we give thanks to God and bless his name daily for how he has healed our souls? For the gift of everlasting life he has given us? Or does our prayer time focus more on our difficulties, our needs, and our wants?
Gratitude expands our hearts. Gratitude makes our heart more like Jesus’ heart. While we celebrate this national holiday of Thanksgiving just once a year, we should have an attitude of gratitude every day of the year, thankful for the abundance of comforts we enjoy, thankful for the roof over our heads, thankful for the food on our table, thankful for our faith. We should all be so thankful that we live in a country where we can freely practice our faith openly and without danger to our lives.
One of the most wonderful Thanksgiving meals I ever experienced was years ago when my Mom and my brother were still alive. With the family gathered around the table before partaking of the feast in front of us, each of us took a turn at saying what he or she was especially thankful for.
It was a very special time that I will always treasure. It affirmed how grateful we all were that God had made us a family, in spite of the normal tensions and challenges most families experience. It was a time of knowing and being grateful for the simple fact that we were family and that we were each loved by one another.
Whenever we come to participate in the Holy Mass, we should be grateful for our many blessings in a special way, especially the gift of being privileged to receive the real presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist. In fact, the Greek word “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving.” Every time we go to Mass we are living the feast of Thanksgiving!
What lessons from today’s Gospel can we bring to this feast of Thanksgiving? To whom are WE being sent after receiving the healing power of Christ in this Eucharist? How are we showing our gratitude for our salvation in practical, concrete ways?
I believe we live a life of Thanksgiving by caring for the sick, welcoming foreigners, and having compassion for the suffering, walking with faith, and remaining obedient to God’s commands. We live a life of Thanksgiving in a very real way by being genuinely concerned for the needs of others and putting their needs above our own.
So today as we gather around our Thanksgiving meal with family and friends, let us take a few minutes to recall all that we are thankful for, giving thanks to the Lord for his abundant blessings and for the healing of our personal “leprosies of ingratitude.”
Certainly we’ll want to thank him for family and friends and for the joy we experience as we gather today. We’ll also thank him for the food we will eat and for those who prepared it. But most importantly, let’s be sure to thank God for the gift of salvation and for our Catholic faith which sustains our souls and gives us the power to live our lives as Christ’s faithful disciples.
Amen? Amen! Happy Thanksgiving.