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A Pre-Thanksgiving Note

I wrote the following for our parish bulletin yesterday (the Feast of Christ the King) as we look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving this week.

Giving Thanks

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King.  Jesus is indeed a king but a king in a new way.  One might think of kings as people who seek power and wealth but ideally a person does not seek to be king or queen for power or glory.  Jesus gives us the perfect example of how to be a leader when he says “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28).  All of us share in the kingship of Jesus through our Baptism and are called to serve the needs of the people around us.

We can give thanks to God for the blessings he has given us that enable us to serve others.  This Thursday (November 25th) we will celebrate Thanksgiving as a national holiday.  The story of the first Thanksgiving is one we learn in elementary school.  The Pilgrims came to America to seek religious freedom.  It was not an easy journey across the ocean.  The first few months in America were very difficult for them.  So, as they gathered the first harvest they took the time to give thanks to God for the harvest.

The word eucharist actually means thanksgiving.  Each time we celebrate Mass we give thanks to God for the blessings he has given us.  Sometimes, it can be difficult to find something we are thankful for.  For instance, when a loved one dies, it is difficult to be thankful.  We are full of sadness but we can be thankful for the time our loved one was with us and give thanks to God for the gift of eternal life.

When we are thankful for the blessings God has give us, perhaps we can express our thanks by sharing what we have with others.  For instance, if you have just started a new job or been promoting, you might express your thanks to God by helping someone who is out of work.  Then, they can give thanks for the help you provided.

Giving thanks is not something we do only when we have received a particular gift.  I firmly believe God gives us blessings in ways we do not even realize.  When we understand the constant blessings God has given us, we live with an attitude of gratitude.  Such an attitude helps to live with joy and peace.  It is not joy that exists only in the moment we receive the blessing.  It is a persistent joy that when things aren’t going well we still know that God loves us and is with us, even if we can’t recognize his presence.

An attitude of gratitude leads us to sharing what we have.  God has given us all of creation as a gift.  We are so happy with the blessings that we have received that we wish to share the blessings.  As stewards of God’s gift, we give of our time, talent, and treasure so that others may know the generosity Jesus shows by giving his life on the Cross for us.

We offer three opportunities to give thanks to God on Thursday by joining us for the celebration of the Eucharist.  Our Mass times on Thursday are

8:00 a.m. at St. Michael’s Church in Penn Yan
9:00 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Church in Prattsburgh
9:30 a.m. at St. Januarius’ Church in Naples

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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