Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving: Daily Mass Homily: Thursday, November 27th, 2014 (Thanksgiving)

(Listen to this homily here).

            For daily Mass readings a priest often has a choice of readings to choose from, either from the day or from a particular saint or other feast.  Typically I choose the usual daily readings as they are in order and we can hear fuller portions of the books.
            Last night I was kicking around choosing different ones!  As a country we celebrate Thanksgiving—in our Church we meditate on the end and hear such things as the destruction of Babylon and the annihilation of Jerusalem.
            The saving grace came in one verse from Revelation: “Then the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.’”  The priest says something at every Mass, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world.  Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”
            The word Eucharist in Greek means thanksgiving.  What we do every time we come to Mass is to give God thanks and praise for all the gifts He has given us.  It is fitting that we start our secular holiday of Thanksgiving—which commemorates the first Thanksgiving many years ago—with Mass.
            I encourage you today to think about what you are thankful for from God.  Think of those gifts we often take for granted—vision, heartbeat, walking, home and working.  We have nothing that we did not receive from God.
            Prayers of gratitude are a mature offering in our spiritual lives.  But they are also good for our minds.  When we are grateful and say “thank you,” something happens in our brain for the better.  This greatly assists our psychological well-being.  Being gracious to God points our focus away from ourselves and to Another.  It allows us to escape focusing only on ourselves.
            As we celebrate turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing and pie and football today, let’s not forget to be truly thankful to God.  Connected with our daily presence at Eucharist, may we become men and women with thankful hearts.

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