On this joyful American holiday let’s pause to thank God for His blessings and ask His guidance in sharing them with those who need a kind word, a helping hand, a gracious gift.
Reflections on the readings for Thanksgiving Day (November 24, 2022): SIR 50:22-24; PS 145:2-3,4-5,6-7,8-9,10-11; 1COR 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.
Expressing gratitude to Almighty God, especially after hardships, is deeply appropriate for people, although some of us neglect this. In today’s Gospel, we hear one of Jesus’ most famous miracles.
For many people, this is a well-loved and celebrated day. We gather with family and friends to enjoy each other’s company and carry on traditions. Some we have in common with most other Americans, some are personal to our community or home, but they have all mean something special to us. We remember our history lessons about the English Puritans, or Pilgrims, who settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts. They might well have starved the previous winter without help from the Wampanoag tribe who had helped the newcomers survive. So in the autumn of 1621, they all celebrated what we have come to call our first Thanksgiving Day. It’s also noteworthy that in Florida, another place that would also become part of the United States, there had been a gathering in 1565 to thank God and share with one another. Indeed, the day included a Mass with Spanish soldiers and local Native Americans in attendance.
Expressing gratitude to Almighty God, especially after hardships, is deeply appropriate for people, although some of us neglect this. In today’s Gospel, we hear one of Jesus’ most famous miracles. Ten lepers cried out to Him, asking for mercy. He sent them to show themselves to the priests, something they had to do to be considered cleansed of their terrible disease. “And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, ‘Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?’ Then He said to him, ‘Stand up and go; your faith has saved you’” (Luke 17:15-19). All ten were healed, but the one who returned to give thanks received far more -- the gift of salvation. While today is a holiday and not a holy day, many people attend religious services to commemorate the real meaning of Thanksgiving. Holy Mass is a wonderful way to start our festivities. But before heading out the church door and back to parades and football, turkey and pumpkin pie, let’s pay special attention to the priest’s dismissal: “Go in peace.” And our response: “Thanks be to God.” We might even make a resolution not only to mean it, but to say it and mean it every day. Thanks be to God!