Posted by: frburke23 | November 20, 2012

Thought for Thanksgiving Day

Luke 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.”


Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families and friends.  May we truly make this a day in which we stop and reflect on all the blessings the Lord has showered down upon us.  We may be carrying some heavy crosses as well, but we also give thanks to God for helping us carry the crosses with us.

Today in this passage, Jesus heals 10 lepers and only one returns to give thanks.  Doesn’t that happen often in our lives?  God blesses us, heals us, inspires us – and we just go on about our lives without stopping to give thanks.

Some young people (and older) have said, “Why do I have to go to Church?  I don’t get anything out of it.”  This is our consumerist culture speaking loudly.  We approach everything, even relationships, with the thought that we have to get something out of it.  It is very utilitarian. 

But my question in return is always, “What do you bring to Mass?  Do you have nothing to give thanks for today?”  The Eucharist means “thanksgiving”.  Every time we gather together we are called to GIVE thanks not.  We are not called just to “veg out” and receive.  But that is what our culture has taught us – to sit back and receive.  Obviously there is a time in our spiritual lives where we are called to sit in silence and receive grace from the Lord.  Mass is meant for both – to GIVE thanks and to RECEIVE grace. 

It is like our relationships – we are called to seek the best for the other person.  We are not just called to receive from a relationship.  Love is not selfish.  We need to learn how to die to ourselves and live for others – God and neighbor.

How do we learn to do this? 

1)     Look for opportunities to serve – food pantry, homeless shelter, nursing home, etc.

2)    Seek opportunities to serve your family and friends.  Don’t wait for them to serve you.

3)    Ask yourself before you do something – is this a selfish motive, or is it for the good of others?

4)    Go to Mass regularly and be ready to GIVE thanks to God for everything in your life.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.  Don’t be one of the 9 lepers who just went about their lives without giving thanks to God.  Return to the ONE who loves you to give thanks every day.


Fr. Burke

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