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For When It's Hard to Be Thankful

November 26, 2020   Thanksgiving Day (Lectionary: 943-947)

Reading 1   Sir 50:22-24

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!
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.

Responsorial Psalm   145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

R.    (see 1)  I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R.    I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.
R.    I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
They discourse of the power of your terrible deeds
and declare your greatness.
They publish the fame of your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your justice.
R.    I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R.    I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R.       I will praise your name for ever, Lord

Reading 2   1 Cor 1:3-9

Brothers and sisters:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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,
with all discourse and all knowledge,
as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you,
so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift
as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will keep you firm to the end,
irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful,
and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Alleluia   1 Thes 5:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In all circumstances, give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   Lk 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten persons with leprosy met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, 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.”

By Jenna McAndrew 

Today’s Thanksgiving readings revolve around, of course, thankfulness.  Ben Sira tells us in the first reading to “bless the God of all,” the psalm invokes us to give praise to the Lord forever, Paul gives thanks to God for the Corinthians in his Epistle, and the Gospel is about a Samaritan leper who comes back to thank Jesus after He heals him.  The theme of thankfulness is clear!

Sometimes, I find it very difficult to find the strength or reason to thank God,

between the political tension in our country, COVID, and even, at times, division within the Catholic Church and its leaders and members.  I got married in October of this year.  COVID caused me to modify my wedding reception and honeymoon. 

I strive very hard not to be bitter about everything that my husband and I had to give up when I know that we deserved to have the wedding and reception that normal couples get.  But every time we had to cancel a vendor or call a friend to tell them that our reception was cancelled, it became more and more exhausting. 

By the end of the summer, I was just out of hope.  I realize how selfish I sound in writing this.  There are people suffering from COVID, cancer, poverty, homelessness, abuse, and addiction as you are reading this.  I know I am so incredibly blessed, and that there is so much in my life to be thankful for.  While I was still excited to marry my husband, of course, we had to mourn the loss of the wedding we had been so looking forward to. 

It just felt like God was allowing me to get drop kicked to the ground continuously.

But the bottom line is this: God prevailed.  Nothing can stop the grace of the sacraments.  We got married on a gorgeous October day.  And as I walked down the aisle, linked arm in arm with my dad, I was not thinking about everything we had to give up to get to that moment. 

My eyes were fixed on my husband, who was beaming as he stood underneath the Crucifix at the front of the church as he waited for me.  What an image: my husband waiting for me beneath the cross of our crucified Savior. 

What did I have to give up to get to that moment? 

A party, a DJ, a sense of normalcy?  And what did Christ have to give up for me to get to that moment?  His life.  That sacrament was only possible through the gift of Christ’s life poured out for me on the Cross, so that I can have access over and over again to His sanctifying grace.

God’s goodness and grace prevailed on our wedding day.  Christ continues to pour out His grace upon my husband and I through His sacrament of Matrimony.  Nothing that has happened in the world this past year can stop the grace that God wants to bestow on His beloved.  The cross always gives us something to be thankful for.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jenna McAndrew is the Director of Parish Services at a parish outside of Philadelphia and the host of A Shower of Roses, a weekly podcast which provides an explanation of the upcoming Sunday’s Mass readings. She has her Master’s degree in Religious and Pastoral Studies.  Jenna lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with her wonderful, saintly husband, Paul.  She loves corgis, coffee, guitar, and writing music.  Follow her here or listen here.

 

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