Bottom line: Without gratitude we shrivel, but with it can open ourselves to God every moment.
Happy Thanksgiving! Feliz Dia de Accion de Gracias! I will give the homily in English but begin with a Spanish summary:
Esta semana nuestros jovenes enfocaron en gratitud. Por gratitud podemos transformar nuestro mundo y nuestras vidas. No podemos estar agradecidos por todo, por ejemplo guerras y abusos. Sin embargo podemos ser agradecidos por todo momento. En todo momento Dios nos da una oportunidad. Para agarrarla requiere gratitud. Dare una refleccion personal de gratitud e invitarles imitar el Samaritano. Volver para agradecerle a Jesus. Jesus esta triste por sus 9 paisanos que no vuelvan a dar gracias. Sin gratitud lo extraordinario viene a ser ordinario. Sin gratitud se vuelve a ser un enojon viejo - o un joven enojon. Con gratitud podemos vivir en el momento actual. Gratitud es la primera respuesta a las bendiciones de nuestras vidas. Sin gratitud nos marchitamos; con gratitud podemos abrirnos a Dios en todo momento.
This week our youth group focused on what is probably the most important virtue: Gratitude! Starting with gratitude, they learned, we can form networks that will transform our world. While we cannot be grateful for everything we can be thankful for every moment. We are not thankful for wars or abuse. We can however be thankful for every moment. Every moment, as our youth learned, every moment God gives us an opportunity. To grasp that opportunity requires gratitude.
For sure, when we scan the our world we see many things to worry about and make us upset. And maybe even in ones own home, work - or body. But today Thanksgiving Day I'd like to reflect on gratitude. I think how lucky I am. Why was I born here rather than in a village in Peru where infant mortality is 117 - that is, of every thousand children, 117 die before the age of five? And then my family. We had only two bedrooms - one for my parents, one for us five boys and the living room couch for my little sister. But my family - with all our dysfunctions and some very painful - my family was and is an enormous blessing. I could list more, but I'll mention only one: making it to 70 more or less in one piece and having the best assignment in the Archdiocese - pastor of St. Mary of the Valley.
I have every reason to imitate the Samaritan - to give thanks to Jesus. And I believe you do too. For one, God gave you a pretty good spiritual father. Don't you think? :) We do have reason to imitate the Samaritan - to thank Jesus.
Jesus wants our gratitude - not for his sake, but for ours. And we see that Jesus is disappointed with his own countrymen who don't return to thank him. They may be eager to make up for lost time, but they miss a lot. A writer named Matthew Kelly expresses it powerfully:
Without gratitude what was extraordinary yesterday becomes ordinary today. Without gratitude a sense of entitlement takes over and begins to rot our soul. Without gratitude we get old and grumpy, or even young and grumpy. Gratitude keeps us young. It anchors us to the present moment. It reminds us what matters most and what matters least, and fills us with the resolve to carry out the great mission God has entrusted to us.
Thank you for coming to this Mass. You have returned to thank Jesus. I conclude with one more quote from Matthew Kelly: Gratitude should always be our first response for the blessings in our lives. Our second response should be to live a life worthy of the blessings we have received. Without gratitude we shrivel, but with it can open ourselves to God every moment. Amen.
General Intercessions (Prayers of the Faithful) for Thanksgiving Day Mass
From Archives (Thanksgiving Day Homilies):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Parish Picture Album
Parish Picture Album
St. Mary of the Valley Album
Pictures from Peru
Billings Retreat on Amantani Island
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish
Bulletin (Good News in Stem Cell Research; Six Myths of Atheism & Philip Pullman's Golden Compass; First Anniversary Mass for Deputy Steve Cox)
Patients and Students Helped by Mary Bloom Center
Visit to Site of Peruvian Meteorite
Pictures of Earthquake Relief
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru
(new, professional website)