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Father Muench Says...

Beyond sweet potatoes and mincemeat

November 27, 2013

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I know that you, like I, love Thanksgiving.  What do you love best?  For me – it is white meat, sweet potatoes and mince meat pie. 

The whole tradition of family gatherings – celebrating at a traditional meal is truly a magnificent moment. 
On Thanksgiving Day the emphasis is on gratitude and we all have so many reasons to be thankful.  Gratitude is a rather important quality; nothing lights up my life like being thanked when I’ve done a good thing, or right thing.

Never miss an opportunity to thank someone when they do something good for you.

Gratitude. One of the familiar Gospel stories, often read on Thanksgiving is the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers.  Jesus sends the ten lepers to the priests – only they can determine that a leper is healed enough to return to society. 

The Gospel tells us that on the way, one of them realizes that he has been healed.  He immediately returns to Jesus to express his gratitude.  The others do not.

Recently, while I was visiting Madonna House, my friend, Father Louis, was the celebrant at one of the Masses I attended, and the Gospel reading was the story of the ten lepers.

Father Louis, in his homily, suggested that possibly the other nine did not realize that something had happened to them – that they had been healed.  Father Louis then went on to remind us that too often our gratitude is lacking because we do not realize when something good – something transforming – has happened to us.
Every time a gift is given to us , something good is done for us, we are transformed, we are changed, we are made new – it is a time for gratitude.

Every time we meet God – at Eucharist, in prayer – we are changed, we are transformed, we are made new – a time for gratitude to God.Now you have heard this before but let us remember again – Eucharist actually means thanks - still used in Greek – it means thank you. 

Every Mass is then a time of gratitude.  In the Eucharist, we celebrate – over and over – that Jesus came to this earth, to live with us, to die for us, to rise to new life so that we are lead to new life.  Each Eucharist is an invitation to our own resurrection.  We have so much to be grateful for.  And each Eucharist is our time of thanksgiving, a solemn prayer of thanksgiving in recognition of God’s great love for us, that we have been saved.  Could our lack of gratitude be a result that we don’t understand the magnificence of our salvation?

We are blest.  Each Mass we take the time to remember the many who have helped us, who have touched our lives in a special way. 

On Thanksgiving Day we again remember the many who have made a difference in our lives and we  pray for them.  A holiday – an American holiday – dedicated to gratitude – a rather good idea.  Truly, it has been a great idea.

Happy Thanksgiving, to you and your families!


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