Take Thanksgiving to a New Level

(November 28, 2019)

Bottom line: We can learn from that Confederate soldier to trust God, to take thanksgiving to a new level.

Happy Thanksgiving! Feliz Accion de Gracias. I begin with a Spanish summary: Como en la primera lectura agradecemos a Dios por el don de la vida y las maravillas de la creacion. Tambien estamos agradecidos por nuestras familias a pesar del hecho que los miembros son pecadores - como tu y yo. Estoy agradecido por mi familia parroquial. Se ve en la campanya Llamados a Servir Como Cristo. Les invito llevar la gratitud a un nuevo nivel como en la oracion de un soldado del sur de los Estados Unidos. Al final rezamos por un corazon alegre y por nuestro pais.

On Thanksgiving Day you and I want to acknowledge Jesus' gifts as the Samaritan did. We do that the best way by the Mass - the Eucharist, the great prayer of thanksgiving. In the first reading Sirach offers a lovely prayer for gift of creation and the gift of life:

"And now, bless the God of all, who has done wondrous things on earth; Who fosters people's growth from their mother's womb, and fashions them according to his will!"

What an amazing gift is life and all the wonders of creation! Most of us also consider our family a gift - although a problematic gift because families are made of sinful human beings, starting with you and me. In spite of that, I am grateful for my family - and for you, my spiritual family. Paul expresses it this way:

"I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way..."

This past year we conducted a major campaign: Called to Serve as Christ. We wrapped up it last weekend. The campaign provoked a lot of emotion, but in the end people responded because of their gratitude for the care received from priests and sisters. I thank you for your care for me and for other priests.

This year I'd like to take thanksgiving to a new level: not only to thank God for evident gifts, but also for those enmeshed in tribulation. I saw this in a book of prayers compiled by Bishop Mueggenborg. I was struck by one composed by an anonymous Confederate soldier:

I asked for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for
but everything that I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered,
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

Today we inaugurate the holiday season. I know that for many of you this is a difficult time because of tribulations in your family and your personal life. We can learn from that Confederate soldier to trust God, to take thanksgiving to a new level. Let's ask for joyful hearts and pray for peace in our country, as did Sirach:

Que el Senor nos conceda un corazon alegre, que El haga reinar la paz en Israel ahora y para siempre. May he grant you joy of heart and may peace abide among you; May his goodness toward us endure in Israel to deliver us in our days. Amen.


Thanksgiving Message (Audio homily for Thanksgiving 2018)

Three Reasons I am Grateful for You - Tres Motivos Estoy Agradecido por Tí (Audio homily for Thanksgiving 2017) From Archives (Thanksgiving Day Homilies):

Without Gratitude
The Fundamental Freedom - Freedom of Religion
Great Dividing Line
The Power of Gratitude
Thanksgiving and Salvation
Howard Hughes vs. Dostoevsky
The Radical Virtue
Thanksgiving Day 1988
1998: Holy Spirit and Fire

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*

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Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

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MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru