This is one of our national holidays that is easily made into a prayer of thanksgiving for all Americans now who celebrate the freedoms that we have. We offer our prayer of thanksgiving to God for the many blessings we continue to receive.
The liturgists have suggested we use four of a choice of nine texts for our readings today. Therefore different missals and different parishes may use a different combination than the four chosen here.
The reading from Deuteronomy has ideas and phrases that truly fit our national holiday. We reflect on God’s bounty and the abundance of gifts bestowed on us for which we give thanks to God. Psalm 138 is an ancient song of praise and thanksgiving to God for his kindness and blessings given to us. The letter of St. Paul to the Colossians continue the same theme emphasizing that our love for others is what brings us peace of mind and heart.
Finally the gospel story from St. Luke recalls the time Jesus cured ten lepers of their disease. But only one, the despised Samaritan, returned to the Lord to thank him for his cure. We reflect on our own taking for granted the many gifts we have received from God and have come to expect them to be entitlements.
As we consider these readings and as we gather as families to celebrate together God’s goodness to us, we are reminded by the gospel reading that we must always thank God for his blessings.
This prayer of thanksgiving to God is made more effective when we go out of our way, out of our own comfort zone, to help the poor and the many who suffer rejection. This attitude as stated in St. Paul’s letter energizes us to deal with others with compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience … And even more importantly, we are encouraged to forgive others. Then when all this is done with love, then we can honestly give thanks to God on this holiday which has also become for us a holy day.
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