It is that time again, Thanksgiving: the time when we as family and as a nation give thanks to God for all the blessings received throughout the year: for the blessings of family and friend; for our freedoms; for the gifts of faith, hope and charity; for the riches of God’s love and forgiveness offered to us in Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
We are not unaware of the fact that some of us have also experienced challenges this year: the loss of a loved one; serious health problems; the loss of jobs and homes; problems of addiction and substance abuse in someone close to us; the pain of damaged or broken relationships… Yet, we can still find many reasons to be grateful to God. Saint Paul wrote: “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” (Philippians 4: 6) For, “we know that all things work for good for those who love God.” (Romans 8:28) Truly, in all circumstances we can express our gratitude to our provident God who blesses us with many gifts and who gives us strength and bears us up in the midst of affliction.
In effect, God always provides: God’s goodness and generosity are unlimited, the source of everything that exists. As the beneficiaries of God’s abundance, we must be faithful stewards. We are called to “receive gratefully” and “share generously” in confidence and hope all God’s gifts (material and spiritual). Furthermore, as Melody Beattie, the author of “Codependent No More,” once wrote: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Gratitude is not something we are called to express once a year but every single day as we share generously our time, talents and treasure. Nevertheless, I would like to invite our parish family to celebrate as a community and express our gratitude for the many gifts received from our God. And so, I invite you to attend our Thanksgiving Day Mass on Thursday, November 26th at 9:30 a.m.
Whether we are home for Thanksgiving or traveling to be with family, in the spirit of the Holiday and as a sign of our gratitude, I humbly invite you to consider doing one or all of the following:
- Bring canned goods and other non-perishables to our Thanksgiving Mass to donate to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, so that it may continue its ministry of feeding the poor, clothing the naked, and housing the homeless in our community.
- Give a special Thanksgiving donation at our Thanksgiving Mass’ offertory collection. These funds are entirely dedicated to the Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of our parish so that it can continue its untiring dedication and ministry of charity to our poor parishioners.
- Finally, I invite you to consider increasing your weekly offertory giving at every Sunday Mass so that St. Elizabeth parish may continue meeting its financial obligations and be able to support the many efforts and initiatives of our various ministries as they continue their work of charity and evangelization. It will help our ministries to effectively continue giving witness to the person of Jesus Christ and his saving message.
Individually, we may at times feel that we’re too small in this world and that we do not have much we can offer or share with our brothers and sisters in community. But, together we can be an awesome force for good; for, we also know that even our five loaves and two fishes, when turned over to Jesus with faith, can feed a multitude and still fill twelve baskets with the leftovers (Mark 6:41).
For my part, I thank God for each and every one of you. I will pray for you so that the Good Lord will bless you and your family this Thanksgiving and Advent Season. I pray that Jesus will be present in your heart and in your home throughout your life and that He reward your faith, gratitude and generosity with joy and lasting peace.
Your Servant in Christ,