This great Feast of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, marks the close of the liturgical year and an appropriate keynote for the season of giving thanks. It’s wonderful when we gather for Mass on Thanksgiving Day, and that people in the United States can observe a holiday devoted to giving thanks. Yet, the essence of this day is nothing new for us as Catholics. By our very nature as disciples of Jesus, we are people of gratitude. As citizens of this nation, and foremost as Catholics, we express our gratitude for all that the Lord has done for us; and we pray for the grace to give back in some way for all that we have received. We acknowledge that all good things in life come from God. Primary in recognizing all He’s given us is the Eucharist, our ultimate act of gratitude. Partaking of the Eucharist gives us the courage to live a life overflowing with thanks, not just today, but every day of our lives.
Gratitude is one of the most attractive virtues a person can have, and very fortunately, it costs us nothing and requires no skill other than the habit of common courtesy. Saying “thank you” is a mark of good manners that parents seek to instill in their children as soon as they are able to talk.
One of the more famous Gospels features an act of gratitude. The Samaritan man returns to the Lord to thank Him for the healing of his leprosy. Jesus is disappointed to discover that only one, a foreigner, has returned in gratitude. His reaction tells us that when we receive a blessing from God, gratitude is an expectation. Jesus goes on to tell the Samaritan that his faith has saved him.
Gratitude, then, has a saving power and is a virtue that, when put into practice, will lead to greater holiness. It saves us from the feeling of self-sufficiency that can lead us away from our dependence on God. It saves us from the feeling of entitlement that makes us averse to serving others. St. Paul often begins his letters with an expression of gratitude as he writes, “I give thanks to God always for the grace bestowed in Christ Jesus.” He provides us an exceptional example of someone who lived the virtue of gratitude in all circumstances. Paul was no stranger to experiencing hardships. Thrown into prison, beaten, nearly stoned to death, shipwrecked, and persecuted for his preaching,–yet whether in good times or in bad, St. Paul gave thanks to Lord.
I, too, give thanks for all of you, especially those who have been supporting us throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, I thank those who prepared and participated in our recent “Nite at the Races,” sponsored by our Knights of Columbus, with the assistance of our Columbiettes. It was a great night out, and a great opportunity to socialize (albeit in a carefully monitored way) and be ‘out of the house’ and with fellow parishioners and friends after such a long period of reclusiveness. Thank you, Jay, Joe M, Joe D, Darin, Todd, Chris, Dan, Olivia and so many others who made it a grand success and delightful evening.
I also want to thank JOSEPHINE CARVILL, who just turned 100! She has been a gift to all of us these past thirty-plus years in our parish, as a living example of great faith in worshipping God and singing his praises for all that he has done for her and for us. We honored her recently at a Mass for her intention. Enjoy a few photos of that event.