The gift of Thanksgiving – for today and for eternity – belongs to God
Reflections on the readings for Thanksgiving Day (November 22, 2018): SIR 50:22-24; PS 145:2-3,4-5,6-7,8-9,10-11; 1 COR 1:3-9; LK 17:11-19
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
On this Thanksgiving, we celebrate the U.S. tradition of a day to express gratitude to Almighty God for His blessings.
We recall the Pilgrims and Native Americans who gathered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621 to thank God for a successful harvest. Days for thanksgiving were held sporadically over the years until Abraham Lincoln declared the day an annual national holiday. It may seem surprising that this happened in the middle of the Civil War, yet the president and others surely wanted the country to share prayer, thankfulness, and hope for peace. Today we still get together with family and friends not only to enjoy a feast, but also to take time to count our blessings. We can all pray the Psalm for today’s liturgy: “All your works give you thanks, Lord and your faithful ones bless you. They speak of the glory of your reign and tell of your mighty works” (Psalm 145:10-11).
While this holiday is a secular one, the essence of thanksgiving urged us to consider all that Almighty God has given us. It is a wonderful tradition for many families to attend Mass together. In receiving the Holy Eucharist, we can also ponder this very word that comes from the Greek for thanksgiving. In offering His own Son for our salvation, the Father provided the Body and Blood of Christ to feed our immortal souls. When we thank our Lord today for all we have, let us remember the gift of eternal life. And let us pray as St. Catherine of Siena did: “Thanks, and again thanks, O Father, for having granted my petitions, and that which I never realized I needed or petitioned.”