It is fitting that I fill in for Father John’s column this week, as my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I love this day for many reasons: the great food, time spent with family, football, its proximity to Advent (my favorite liturgical season), and more. As we enter this week, I thought we could pause briefly and dwell on this idea of “thanks.” On the one hand, Thanksgiving is a day for us to show gratitude for all that we have received. We give thanks for the Fall harvest and for our family. We also remember with gratitude the charity shown to those first pilgrims by the Native Americans at the first Thanksgiving. In this same spirit, I am filled with gratitude for our parish and for all the good I witness every day: for Fr. John, for my coworkers on our parish staff, and for each of you, who give so generously and sacrifice so much to make St. Christopher Parish such a blessed place to call home.
Above all, we give thanks to God, who “in a plan of sheer goodness, freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1). Every part of our life, down to its very existence, is a free gift from our Father in heaven. And if giving us our own life was not enough, God gives us his own life through his Son.
Through the Cross, Jesus offers all his entire self so that we might share in his divine life. At every Mass, we re-present (literally, “present again”) this offering to the Father. We give thanks to the Father for his great love, a love that did not spare his only-begotten Son. We should not be surprised, then, that the word “Eucharist” is Greek for “thanksgiving.” So often, through sin or forgetfulness, I do not give proper thanks for this gift! If you are like me, rejoice in the fact that we have a new opportunity each day to offer thanks, either in a Morning Offering or by participating at Mass. My prayer is that, especially this week, we would each take some time to give proper thanks to our Lord for this great gift.
A blessed thanksgiving to you all!