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Thanksgiving Giving Day Homily 2021

Thanksgiving Day
Sirach 50:22-24
Psalm 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Luke 17:11-19
November 25, 2021

Ten lepers came to Jesus calling out, “Jesus, Master!  Have pity on us!”

Jesus replied by cleansing them of their leprosy. 

They had come to Jesus looking for help.  How did they respond when Jesus answered their request?  Nine disappeared.  Only one returned to give thanks.

Are we any different than the nine? 

We ask God for help.  How do you respond when your prayers are answered?  Are you thankful?  Do you express your thanks?  To whom?

For instance, say you are sick.  So, you ask God to cure you.  When you are cured, do you thank anyone

Do you thank the nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and others who helped you? 

Do you thank God?  Or do you give all the credit to the medical workers?

We should thank the people who help cure us.  However, before we give them all the credit, what place did God have in the cure? 

Where did the medical workers get their ability to help you?

Is it not God who gave them the gifts to cure us?  We should thank God.  We thank God for the gifts He bestowed on them.

Today we come commemorating another thing we can be thankful for, the harvest. 

The early colonists in Massachusetts celebrated the first Thanksgiving to give thanks to God.  They had endured a difficult voyage in coming to America.  The first few months in the colony were difficult.  Joining them at their thanksgiving were the Native Americans who had helped them.  Together, they all gave thanks to God.

Today we thanks to God for the food we have.  We also give thanks to the farmers who tilled God’s land to provide us with the food we need.  We give thanks to everyone who take what the farmers grow, transport it, process it, and work in the stores.  We give thanks to God for giving these people the gifts they need to be able to provide us with the food.

Our reading from Sirach calls us to “bless the God of all.”  When we speak of “blessing”, we normally think of the ways in which God has blessed us.  To “bless” also means to “hallow.”  In the Lord’s Prayer, we say “hallowed be thy name.”  To “hallow” is to make great.  In blessing God, we are recognizing the “wondrous things” He has done for us.

God has done so much for us.  He gives us life and fosters growth in our mother’s womb.  Our lives are dependent on those who give us life.  This includes our mother and our father.  It includes those who care for us.  It includes those who teach us.  We give thanks to them for what they have done for us and we give thanks to God for given them the gifts they needed to help us.

What about faith?

Since you come here today, I assume you have some faith.  Where do you get your faith from?  Have your parents helped you to have faith?  Maybe it was your grandparents.  Maybe a neighbor or a friend.  How about someone who taught you the faith.  Whoever has helped you in your faith journey, thank them. 

What about God?

Do you think you could have faith without God taking the initiative? 

Faith is not something we bestow on ourselves.  Faith begins with God revealing himself to us.  God does not have to reveal himself to us.  He freely chooses to reveal himself to us so that we might have faith.

Faith is a gift.  We must choose to accept the gift.  Today we give thanks to God for the faith He has given us. 

Thankful for what God has already given we bless his name and ask for his continuing help to follow him.

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