Thursday, November 23, 2023
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
While we celebrate this national holiday of Thanksgiving just once a year, we should each have an attitude of gratitude every day of the year, even when the circumstances of our lives may be incredibly challenging.
The healed leper who returned to Christ in today’s gospel sets an admirable example for us all. All of us here today have been cured of something much worse than leprosy. We’ve had our sins forgiven! How are we showing God our gratitude for our life itself, for our salvation, for our physical and spiritual healings, and for the many other gifts he has so generously given us?
Well, perhaps the most important way we show God our gratitude is simply by being here today. Whenever we come to participate in the Holy Mass, the source and summit of our faith, 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!
In one of the prefaces to the Eucharistic prayer we find this remarkable observation directed toward God: “You have no need of our praise, yet our thanksgiving is itself your gift, since our praises add nothing to your greatness but profit us for salvation.”
In other words, because God has no need of our praise, our acts of gratitude are actually a gift from God. WE SHOULD BE GRATEFUL THAT WE ARE EVEN ABLE TO BE GRATEFUL! Why? Because gratitude expands our hearts. Gratitude makes our heart more like Jesus’ Sacred Heart.
The most memorable Thanksgiving meal 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.
Today as we gather at this Thanksgiving table of the altar, and when we gather for 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.
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. Most importantly, let’s be sure to thank God for the gift of life, 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.
And let’s not forget to be grateful that we are able to be grateful, remembering that our thanksgiving is itself a gift from our loving Father, expanding our hearts to be more and more like the heart of Jesus.