Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
November 24th, 2011
Daniel Patrick O'Reilly

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Thanksgiving Day (in the US)
Sirach 50:22-24
Psalms 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-111
Corinthians 1:3-9
Luke 17:11-19


Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

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Today’s scripture readings seem to be about blessings and giving thanks.  In Sirach, the writer calls us to “bless the God of all”.  The psalmist proclaims, “every day will I bless you” and “let all your works give you thanks, O Lord”.  In Corinthians, Paul proclaims “I give thanks to my God always on your account”.  In Luke we hear the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers.  Only the Samaritan leper returns to give thanks to God.

We bless God?  To be honest that sounds kind of weird (presumptuous?) to me.  And yet we see that twice in today’s readings.  God does not need my blessing.  In fact, God does not need me.  However, scripture indicates that God wants me, desires me.  God wants my love, my obedience, a relationship with me.  God wants my blessing?  Why?  A mystery, but seemingly true.  Ironically, on the flip side, without God’s blessings I am nothing.  I truly need God.  And yet how often I don’t want God.  I think I’m pretty saintly?  My sins are before me.  I think I can place my life on cruise control?  God presents those in need to me.  God’s plans often seem to be in opposition to my plans.  I want to be in control!  God just smiles.  My pride always seems to interfere with my gratitude for God’s gifts.  Pride seems to destroy a  thankful heart.  How do I maintain a thankful heart?  How can I express my gratitude to God?

And speaking of thankful, Happy Thanksgiving!  I have so much to be thankful for.  I have a roof over my head, clothes in the closet and food in the fridge.  Friends and family.  I have a wife who loves me.  Seven wonderful, healthy, happy sons.  My mind and body are still functioning. 

And we can be thankful for small things.  I love this time of year.  I get up in the morning before everyone else.  It’s dark and cold (but not freezing).  I wrap up in a blanket and sit on the deck.  I can see my breath and the steam from my coffee.  The moon and stars are beautiful.  Their vastness is incomprehensible.  Sometimes the moment seems like a gift, a privilege.  My dog doesn’t appreciate the cold (or stars) like I do, but she still sits with me.  Thankfulness is not always about things, but what you have in your heart.  It’s a great time to be alive. 

The stars present the enormity of the universe and the incredible scope of history.  It is a marvel.  Something to inspire awe.  Sometimes this time of year inspires depression.  The days grow shorter and there is more dark than light.  Some fear seeing family they have not seen in a year.  Instead of inspiring awe, some think the stars show that they are insignificant.  That, in the grand scheme of things, their lives don’t count for much.  In reality, each one of us is a unique and beloved child of God.  There has never been anyone like you, now or ever.  We are unique individuals living in a unique time and place.  And the God who created the universe cares about each one of us.  Hard to fathom.  What an astounding gift.  It really is a gift just to be alive. 

My prayer today is for those in need and those searching for a thankful heart.  Happy Thanksgiving.

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