Give Thanks to the Lord for He Is Good!
November 25, 2021
- Thanksgiving Day
- Deacon Erik Burckel, LC
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”
Opening Prayer: As we begin this meditation in humble gratitude, let us pray with the words of Jesus: “And Jesus raised his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me’” (John 11:41).
On the Road Again: Get up and go! God wants us to persevere in the journey of life. The lepers were cleansed “as they were going.” What if they had never set out? Would they still have been cleansed? Because of their faith in Jesus, they were able to take steps in obedience and for this they were richly rewarded. Even after the one leper returned cleansed to thank Jesus, he was set in motion. Jesus told him, “Stand up and go!” God has a mission for each one of us. He is telling us, “Don’t worry, but do get a move on!” May we follow Jesus who “continued his journey…” and thank him for the road before us and the strength to travel it!
Overcoming Leprosy: The poor lepers of the story were forced to live in isolation from their fellow men. They also suffered the misery of the skin disease itself. Furthermore, nine of the lepers were infected with the “leprosy” of ingratitude. The man who returned to Christ, however, sets us an admirable example for us. We who have been cured of worse than leprosy–our sins–do we give thanks to God and bless his name? Gratitude expands our hearts, and makes them more like his heart. The Greek word “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving,” so every time we go to Mass we are living the feast of Thanksgiving!
Hearts Full of Gratitude: What lessons from today’s Gospel can we bring to this feast of Thanksgiving? Let us care for the sick, welcome foreigners, and have compassion for the suffering. Let us walk with faith, obedient to God’s commands. Let us count on the Lord for healing of our “leprosies.” Let us thank and praise God because we have a Father in Heaven, and we are his children. On this day of Thanksgiving, may we also show gratitude for our family by always remembering to give thanks for all that they do, and especially for all that they simply are—our family.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for the abundance of your blessings in our lives. Thank you for faith, family, and fun. Thank you for the food we will eat and the company we will enjoy today. Thank you for giving us the gift of salvation, and thank you especially for the Eucharist!
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will give thanks for at least three blessings this Thanksgiving Day.
For Further Reflection: Let your heart grow thankful by reading a light-hearted poem by John Greenleaf Whittier called The Pumpkin.
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