Thursday, November 27 ~ Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

~ Thanksgiving Day ~

Holy Gospel: Luke 17:11-19 As he continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

Meditation: When we think about giving thanks to God, are you like the one leper who returned, or are you with the other nine who did not give thanks? Why would only one leper out of ten return to show gratitude? Gratefulness is related to “grace” – which means the release of loveliness. Gratitude is the homage of the heart which responds with graciousness in expressing an act of thanksgiving. The Samaritan approached Jesus reverently and gave praise to God. If we do not recognize and appreciate the mercy shown us we will be ungrateful. Ingratitude is forgetfulness or a poor return for kindness received. Ingratitude easily leads to lack of charity and intolerance towards others. It easily leads to lack of charity and intolerance towards others, as well as to other sins, such as discontent, dissatisfaction, complaining, grumbling, pride and presumption. How often have we been ungrateful to our parents, siblings, priests, teachers, co-workers, neighbors, waiters and waitresses, and so many others? How often have we failed individually and collectively to give thanks to God? Now ask yourself: Why do I act this way? Am I that self-centered? Is not giving thanks part of my being? Let us give thanks to God today and every day, and adopt a life expressing gratitude and thanks to all from the heart, beginning first and foremost with God.

Prayer: Father all-powerful, your gifts of love are countless and your goodness infinite; as we come before you on Thanksgiving Day with gratitude for your kindness, open our hearts to have concern for every man, woman, and child, so that we may share your gifts in loving service. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation: Is today, Thanksgiving Day, simply a day for feasting and football? Or have you given any thought to what this day is truly about – giving thanks to God for all that he has done for you, the great and the simple things in life, and life itself. Begin this day by giving true thanks to God – begin the day with Mass; family football games and community 5k runs can begin later. As Americans, but more importantly as Catholics, may we be blessed with a fresh awareness of the loving Most Blessed Trinity from whom all good things come, may we give thanks for what has been bestowed upon us, and may all of us have a renewed interest in helping those who are less fortunate – especially the poor, the hungry, and the homeless.