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Today we celebrate a national holiday, Thanksgiving.  It has been part of our history since before we were even a nation of our own.  The pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts in 1620.  They arrived in winter and faced great difficulties.  Native American Indians came to their help and helped learn local farming.  At the first harvest they celebrated a great meal with the Native American Indians to give thanks to the Native American Indians for their help and to thank God.

In some ways, Thanksgiving has become ‘another family holiday,’ a day to spend with family.  But we need to remember to give thanks.

Giving thanks is nothing new.  It didn’t begin with the Pilgrims.  People have been thanking each other and thanking God since the beginning of time.  We hear it in the readings recommended for Thanksgiving Day Mass.  In the second reading, Paul speaks of how he gives thanks for the people and the grace God has given them.  We should give thanks for the same.

In the gospel reading, ten lepers come to Jesus seeking to be healed.  All ten were healed.  Nine continued on their way (Jesus had told them to go to the priests).  Only one returned to give thanks.  It is easy to remember to pray to ask for something when we need help.  But do we remember to pray to give thanks when we have received blessings?  Ten lepers were healed, only one returned to Jesus, glorifying God and giving thanks to Jesus.

When we receive a great miracle like the lepers, it should be easy to remember to give thanks but we don’t always, do we?  Sometimes, it is hard to see the blessings we have received in the midst of any difficulties we face.

The saying ‘do you see the cup as half full or half empty comes to mind.’   If we see the cup as half empty, we think of what we don’t have and may be saddened or depressed.  If we see the cup as half-full, we see the blessings that we have received, and can find some peace in the midst of difficulty.

Sometimes there are blessings we don’t realize.  I think of myself right now.  Yesterday, I spent three hours cutting down a tree and carting it away.  I’m a little sore right now but I am thankful that I am not real sore or stiff now.

I also think of coming to Immaculate as Pastor.  I have been very busy and working a lot.  I do get tired but when I do, I still try to remember to give thanks to God because without him, I could not do what I do.  I also give thanks for a parish that has been so warm and welcoming to me and willing to help.

What blessings have you received this year?  Count your blessings and give thanks to God.


Fr. Jeff

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