We Need to be Thankful

Thanksgiving Day
Sirach 50:22-24
1 Corinthians 6:3-9
Luke 17:11-9
November 24, 2022

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving Day.  It is a national holiday for us.  It is a secular holiday but it is a day that we need to celebrate.

Why do we need Thanksgiving Day?  If you watch the news, you hear of a lot of bad things that happen.  It seems things are getting worse instead of better.  It can be depressing.

We need a day of thanksgiving to give us hope.  This day of thanksgiving is a call for us to think about we have that we are thankful for. 

We might lament a serious illness.  We can give thanks for the care and healing we receive.  We thank the medical workers for their efforts and we thank God for strength and healing.

We lament when we hear of another Mass shooting.  We can give thanks when the shooter is caught and people are safe.

We lament in drought conditions.  We can give thanks for the food and drink that we do have.

We lament Russia invading Ukraine bringing death and destruction.  The people of Ukraine can give thanks for the humanitarian assistance.

We lament a cold day.  We can give thanks for a warm place to gather inside. 

We lament big snowstorms.  We can give thanks for the water that we need in the snow.

I said we can give thanks for the various things.  We “can” but do we?  We ask God for help.  Do we remember to thank him?  Do we thank the people who help us?  There were ten lepers who were healed of their leprosy.  Only one recognized Jesus as the source of his healing and returned to give thanks.

When we recognize the good things that others have done for us, it can bring us happiness.  When we recognize the wonderous things God has done, our hearts are filled with joy. 

This joy gives us hope.  Hope that we need to make through difficult times.  God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.  God sent many prophets to teach his people.  He sent David as a great king.  He brought the Jews home from exile in Babylon. 

In each of these things the people suffered in some way.  They cried to God for help and He answered when they truly turned their hearts to him.  This is not just their story of what God did for them.  It is our story of what God does for his people.

The story continues with Jesus.  What does He do for us?

He teaches us how to live well.

He reveals his power in the miracles He does.

He saves us from our sins, gives us his Body and Blood as bread from Heaven to nourish us.  He opens the door to eternal life.

It is your choice for how you look at things.  Do you see the cup as half-empty or half-full?  God gives us cup that filled with what we need.

The word “Eucharist” means thanksgiving.  Let us be thankful for all that God has done for us and will do for us in the future. 

Thanksgiving may be a secular holiday but it is a holiday that we need.  The Church gives us special prayers at Mass for Thanksgiving.  We have readings today specifically selected as expressing thanks.

Who has helped you this year?  Have you thanked them?

What blessings has God given you this year?  Have you thanked God?

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