A Thanksgiving Question From St. Paul: What Is It That You Have Not Received?
Dear Friends in Christ,
Thanksgiving is in the air. In a few days, we will sit down at our Thanksgiving dinner table to share memories, jokes, and smiles. It is always a special time to count our blessings and give thanks to the Lord. I always rejoiced on Thanksgiving morning to witness so many families beginning the day by celebrating mass. In fact, that word “Eucharist” means giving thanks.
Giving “Thanks” to the Lord is the very heart of Gospel. Jesus appreciates so much, our giving thanks as we can see in the Gospel of the Thanksgiving Mass, that story about the ten lepers healed by Jesus found in Luke 17: 11-19. Only one came back to give Thanks to Jesus, “Praising Him in a loud voice.” Jesus praised Him, but was so disappointed at the other nine saying, “Where are the others, were not ten made clean?”
Jesus appreciates and expects us to give thanks since all we have is a gift from our Heavenly Father, who is called in Scripture, “The Giver of all Gifts”. Our Thanksgiving response should be at the very heart of our Christian prayer and lives. Listen to what the Holy Spirit tells us in Scripture: “What is it you have not received? And since it was given, how can you boast as if it were your own?” as found in 1 Corinthians 4: 7. “Every good gift comes from God, for all things give thanks because this what God expects of you” – Thessalonians 5:17.
Are you responding to the Lord by making Thanksgiving a prominent part of your prayer life? Do you count your blessings and like that Samaritan in the Gospel who came back to Jesus “praising Him in a loud voice”? When we think about it about it, there is no end to the gifts for which we must be thankful, physical and spiritual, so let’s recognize all of them.
Let’s give thanks for that first gift of all that the Lord gave us, the gift of life, then our beloved parents, spouse, family, home, health, education, country, vocation in life and so much more. Then let’s remember to give special thanks for our Spiritual gifts: The love our Heavenly Father, Jesus our Saviour, the Holy Spirit; our Paraclete, Mary our Spiritual Mother, Our Guardian Angel, the church which nourishes us, the Eucharist which is the food for our journey. Don’t forget to give thanks for our sufferings, so often a gift from the Lord to purify and transforms us, and so our gift list goes on and on.
There are so many ways in which we can give thanks, one of the most important being to share the gifts given us with others “the gifts we have been given”, says Fr. George Montague, “give as a gift”.
There are so many ways in which we can express our gratitude to the Lord. I share with one that I have found very special: A Holy Hour of Thanksgiving to the Lord in the Adoration Chapel, giving thanks on my Rosary beads for al the Gifts I have received over the years, remembering especially by name all who have inspired and helped me on my journey.
The message of the Gospel on this Thanksgiving can be a wake up call to us all to rediscover an attitude of gratitude like that leper who came back “praising God in a loud voice” giving thanks. As you gather around your Thanksgiving table I pray that you will experience a sense of the gift of family which only the Lord can give you. As my gift to you and your family, I include with this email, my special Thanksgiving dinner prayer and keep remembering that question St. Paul asks us: “What is it that we have not received?”
– Fr. Michael
BLESSING BEFORE THANKSGIVING DINNER
Father, look kindly on this your family, united here around our table. We thank you for all your gifts and blessings. We thank you for fatherly care for all of us, for our bodily health and our good appetites. A special thank you for our home and everything in it.
We thank you for our country and for all the freedoms which we enjoy especially our freedom of opportunity and worship. We thank you for the blessing of education, medical service, for the availability of entertainment, for the convenience of travel.
Most of all, we thank you for the greatest gift of all, your loving son, Jesus Christ, our brother, may we always find Him, service Him, love Him in the Church, in our family, in the poor and the unfortunate.
WE come to you, Father, in a spirit of Thanksgiving as all families unite today in praising and worshipping you. Through Christ, you give us all these good things. You will fill them with life and make them Holy.
Father, bless this food, those who prepared it, especially mother who cooked it, and those who are about to eat it. May it make us strong in body, and may your family union today make us one in love.
We ask this through Christ our Lord… Amen!