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Father Muench Says...

‘We express our gratitude’

Oct. 12, 2022

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Today, I would like to start with Eucharist – the word, Eucharist. When I have a Mass with children, I like to start with a little sharing about the word, Eucharist. I want them to realize what the word our Catholic Church wants us to realize when we speak of the Mass as the Blessed Eucharist.

“Eucharist” is from the Greek; it means “thank you.” So, you see, each time we, Catholics, gather for the celebration of a Mass, we do so to praise our God in gratitude. We express our gratitude for all that our God has done for us. We see in Jesus God’s great love for us. Jesus came to live among us, suffered and died for us, and rose again to lead us to a new life. He did all of this for us. Jesus is Our Savior. For this we are grateful.

Gratitude is important, and it’s important I pray as a grateful person, a grateful Christian. This is true each time I celebrate Mass. I must offer to God my gratitude for all those who are here at this Mass with me. We must pray for each other; we are family each time we pray together. Each day, as I participate at Mass, I am grateful to God for all.

In private prayer, I realize it is a time for real gratitude also. This is a time for remembering all that God has done for me, as a priest, calling me to this vocation and for this ministry. This time of gratitude is time of strength in my relationship with my Lord. I have been blessed.

On a recent Sunday, the Gospel reading at Mass was a Gospel reading that is frequently used at Thanksgiving Day. This is the story of Jesus’ healing of the ten lepers. These lepers see Jesus and call out, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us.” Jesus then sends them to the priests. In those days, the priests have the duty of examining and declaring such lepers as “Clean.” In this story, these ten are healed on their way.

The story then goes on to tell us that one of them, realizing that he had been healed, returned to Jesus. “He fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.” The Gospel tells us that this fellow was a Samaritan. Jesus speaks, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

Jesus then goes on to speak to this Samaritan: “Your faith has saved you.” Faith means more than assent to religious teachings. It seems that this Samaritan wants to continue a relationship with the Lord.

Here the Gospel indicates the proof of each person’s faith is this thanksgiving he or she directs to God. The Samaritan is not content merely to offer a quiet prayer of gratitude. His faith constrains him to put the rest of his life on hold and express his gratitude by glorifying God, falling on his knees at the feet of Jesus.

Recently, I received a magazine, “Human Development.” The theme of this issue was “Coming Home to God.” This led me to think personally what “Home” means to me. I began to realize that God constantly leads me to my home with the Lord Jesus.

One of the articles in this magazine is written by Carolyn Humphreys. She writes this: “A comforting old saying tells us, ‘Home is where the heart is.’ Our home can be defined as a place where our hearts are invigorated, loved is nourished, and concerns are well managed. Home is the place that provides an environment where the virtues of faith, hope, compassion and peace are born and strengthened.”

I pray in gratitude to God that each parish in our diocese is truly a home for the people of our North Country. Each time we are all gathered for Mass in our Church, I pray in gratitude that we we do so as a family.

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