Whatever the history, I find it wonderfully remarkable that this day of thanks has been retained throughout our history. Who does anyone have to give thanks to other than God for all of the riches of this country?! This holiday is a reflection of a belief in God in a country that often fights any recognition of his existence. Yes, the day has been commercialized by many. There are almost non-stop football games and it is the eve of the great shopping frenzy for the Christmas holidays. But it is also a day when families gather and share in their gratitude for God’s blessings. It is a day when many prepare meals for the poor or homeless in their community. Overall, it seems that our country may have retained the meaning of this day better than most other holidays.
It is a day when St John’s Church on the Creighton campus is filled with friends and alumni to start their day with a beautiful liturgy of thanks. During the Mass the beautiful reading from Sirach reminds us of the “wondrous things” God has done including our creation in our mother’s womb. Let us give him thanks and praise not just for our existence, but for the intimate knowledge he has of each of us since he fashioned each of us with our unique talents according to his will! .
The reading from Corinthians starts with Paul’s gratitude for those in his community. It prompts us to be mindful of the gifts of friendship, support, and love that we share with family and friends. This community that surrounds us provides stability and strength in difficult times and joins us in laughter and joy in the good times. As we gather with family and friends on this day of thanksgiving, let us thank our God for the gifts of the people He has put in our lives!
The story from Luke’s gospel provides a very clear message that God wants us to recognize his curative love. We have not been cleansed of leprosy and few will ever experience a miraculous cure of a physical illness. However, we are all cleansed of our sinfulness not just once, but over and over again. God keeps giving us His love in spite of ourselves. Yet we can easily take that love for granted just as the nine lepers did.
May this Thanksgiving be a reminder that every day, not just the 4th Thursday of November, is a day for thanking God for all that He has created and for his endless love for us!
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