Something to be thankful for...

November 19, 2017

I think that the author, Daniel Defoe, gave us some good advice when writing about his fictional character, Robinson Crusoe. Defoe wrote that the very first thing that Crusoe did when he found himself stranded on a deserted island was to make out a list. In one column, he wrote all his problems. In the second column, he wrote all his blessings:  I do not have any clothes →But it's warm and I don't really need any. All the provisions were lost→ But there's plenty of fresh fruit and water on the island.

And on down the list he went, discovering that for every negative aspect about his situation, there was a positive aspect, something to be thankful for.

It is easy to find ourselves on an island of despair. Perhaps it is time that we sit down and take an inventory of our blessings. 

Why should we be thankful?  Because without gratefulness, we will become bitter and discouraged or grow arrogant and self-satisfied. 

Thanksgiving Day has a profound religious meaning because giving thanks is at the very heart of our natural and spiritual life.  As Catholics, the central act of worship is called Eucharist, a Greek word for Thanksgiving.

A fundamental aspect of Mass is that it is a meal; Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper.  Jesus is the host, providing food at the table.  By our sharing in this meal we acknowledge that everything we have comes from God.  From this stems the tradition of bringing food items to be blessed at Thanksgiving Mass.

The mystery and beauty of this sacred meal is that Jesus is both High Priest and sacrifice.  As High Priest, Jesus offers the sacrifice to God on behalf of the people, yet the only acceptable sacrifice to God is Jesus Himself! Therefore, the Altar is the central symbol of Mass.  This is where the priest belongs and is where our sacrifice is offered.

The ultimate reason for celebrating Mass every day, and especially Sunday, is to give thanks and praise to God.  He gave His Only Begotten Son as Priest to intercede for us, as acceptable sacrifice, as food for our journey, and as a means of salvation for all humanity.  For that, He is worthy of all our praise!  “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God; It is right and just.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kathryn Richards