November 26, 2015
Thanksgiving Day in the United States
Lk 17: 11-19
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan.
Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
The Greek word that is the source for our word “Eucharist” means “Thanksgiving.” And since our Eucharistic Liturgy and our Thanksgiving celebrations as Americans both involve a very special community (or family) meal, it shouldn’t be a surprise if our thoughts today will have liturgy and our holiday celebration move in parallel.
“Blessing God” and finding joy and peace in God’s goodness to his people is the theme of the first reading from Sirach, and Paul’s “giving thanks” to God for people who live good lives while awaiting the revelation of the Lord is the theme of the second reading. As families gather on this special day, many share in one way or another with the poor, either collecting food or inviting them to share in our family table. Such sharing is a witness to our dependence upon God and upon each other.
In the gospel, we see the reaction of Jesus when one former leper, a Samaritan, is the only one of ten lepers to return and give thanks after Jesus cleanses them from their affliction. This might lead us to ask whether we really do thank God for his love, his protection, his mercy, his forgiveness each time we gather for Mass. Does our thanksgiving then overflow into goodness and mercy toward others? God bless you and your family on this special day!
—Fr. Michael A. Vincent, S.J. serves as associate pastor of the Church of the Gesu, University Heights, OH.
Bless us and our families this Thanksgiving day, O Lord. Thank you for all the gifts you lavish upon us throughout the year. May those who hunger have bread. And may we who have bread so bountifully today hunger always for your justice and peace. Amen!
—The Jesuit prayer team
Please share the Good Word with your friends!