Thanksgiving Day Homily

Thanksgiving Day
Sirach 50:22-24
Psalm 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Luke 17:11-19
November 26, 2020

Today is our national day of Thanksgiving.  The custom of this holiday dates back to the first pilgrims in Massachusetts.  They were thankful that God had blessed them with the harvest.  The trip across the ocean and the first year were not easy.  They knew God helped them through it.  So, it was only fitting for them to give thanks to God.

In the gospel ten lepers came to Jesus.  Leprosy was physically difficult but it was also emotionally difficult because it meant they were isolated from the community.  They came to Jesus asking, “Have pity on us!” 

Jesus tells them to go show themselves to the priests.  This was something lepers would do after they were cured, not before.  They were not yet healed but they did as Jesus said.  They trusted Jesus.  On their way, they were healed.  However, only one returned to Jesus to give thanks.  We ask God for help when we are in trouble.  Do we thank God when our prayers are answered?

2020 has been a difficult year.  Of course, there is the Coronavirus.  As I think about the isolation of the ten lepers, I think about shutdown, quarantines, and social distancing.  All this can be stressful.  We find hope knowing that God is with us.  Let us give thanks, let us bless the Lord for his grace.

The Coronavirus isn’t the only struggle people have faced this year.  Records were shattered for number of acres burned in wildfires.  There were a record number of tropical storms/hurricanes. 

It would be easy to get discouraged.  Actually, I have been discouraged.  Where do I find hope?  In Jesus Christ.  Jesus willingly died for us.  He isn’t going to abandon us now.

We can renew our hope in thinking about how God has helped in the past.

We can renew our hope in the way we look at things.  Is the cup half-full or half-empty?  It’s a matter of perspective.  Do we live with an “attitude of gratitude?”

For instance, during this Coronavirus, at times we have gone to the grocery store to find some shelves empty.  We may have been discouraged by this, maybe even worrying about having enough food, but did you ever go without?  Maybe you couldn’t get your favorite food but did you go hungry?  Let us give thanks to God for the food we do have and pray for those who do go hungry.

When we were in complete shutdown, did you lament being stuck at home?  Be thankful that you have a home and pray for those who don’t have a home.

Are there people you find it difficult to be with?  Be thankful for the people you have in your life that you do enjoy being with and pray for those who are alone or difficult to be with.

When we see and appreciate what God has already done for us, we cultivate an attitude of gratitude within us.  This in turn strengthens us for the future.  Know that, as Paul says, God “will keep your firm to the end.

We come to Mass this morning as we celebrate thanksgiving.  We thank God for the words He gives us in the scriptures.  We come to celebrate the Eucharist.  It is the sacrifice of Jesus that we celebrate.  We thank Jesus for giving his life for us. 

The Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus that we receive and are strengthened by it.  Our thanksgiving to the Lord is expressed in the preface that begins the Eucharistic Prayer.

The word “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving.”  Let us be thankful for all that God has given us.  Let us praise the name of the Lord forever.

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