As a Church we celebrate the last week of the Church's year for next weekend is the First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of a new Church year. As a nation, this week, we celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
In the Gospel of Jesus healing the ten lepers St. Luke writes, "As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice.... Then he [Jesus] said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” Lk. 17: 19
When Jesus says to the Samaritan that his faith has saved him it is not just the gratitude the man has for his physical healing, but as the Gospel states he returned "glorifying God," and in this simple statement is the essence of his salvation. The man is aware that God is the source of his physical healing, but in acknowledging the glory of God he proclaims his faith in God as the source of the spiritual healing of his soul.
When we acknowledge God as the source of our salvation it is an act of humility, for we are in essence saying, "I cannot save myself," and nowadays this is something many people find difficult to say for modern day society wants us to believe we can do anything ourselves. Nothing is further from the truth. I wouldn't dream of working on my car myself, I know where the key goes and where the gas goes, and the rest I leave to a trained mechanic, especially nowadays as we, more and more, are driving computers on four wheels. I wouldn't dream of representing myself in court, after all the adage is still true, "They say a man who represents himself has a fool for a client."
Jesus calls all Christians to live lives of contradiction: to be first, be last; to be a leader, be a servant; to live, die to self; and now we can add one more...all receiving depends on a giving. People who give, either of themselves or a service, do so by decreasing themselves in order to enrich us. We owe them our gratitude, and this is more than just a courtesy, it is a necessary quality of the Christian life. Expressing our gratitude is a sign that we understand that what we have has been given to us as a gift. This should be especially true when it comes to our redemption, it is all a gift from God.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day this Thursday I invite all our parishioners to come together to celebrate Mass, our Eucharistic banquet, at 9:00 a.m. Bring one item from your Thanksgiving dinner to be blest at this Mass that will be shared with you loved ones later in the day. For it is here, at this parish Mass, that we can gather as a family of faith to give thanks to God for His bountiful blessings. I offer you the following Thanksgiving Prayer to be said before your meal:
Gracious and ever generous God,
We come before you this day
with grateful hearts for your
In the beauty and bounty of creation
we see the work of your hand;
in the loving faces around us
we know your own love for us.
May this meal nourish us and strengthen us,
so others may know your plenty in our kindness,
and see your care and concern in our daily witness.
Let us live sincere lives of gratitude,
as we pray in thanks to, our true God
who lives forever and ever. Amen.
On behalf of the staff of the parish of St. Luke the Evangelist, I pray that you and your loved ones will have a most blessed and happy Thanksgiving Day!
As we count our blessings this Thanksgiving Day, let us remember... "All that matters in any and every way Christ is being proclaimed."
Monsignor William McCumber