Thanksgiving Reflection - Nov. 27, 2014

“Ten were cleansed, were they not?.......Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”  Lk. 17:17-18.
On this Thanksgiving Day the Gospel presents us with a Samaritan with leprosy who returns to give thanks to the Lord for his healing.  It also teaches us that a grateful person has a very special place in the heart of Jesus.  That is why I would like to reflect on this day about what it means to “be thankful”.
Henri Nouwen writes:  “It is easy to give thanks for the good things that happen in our lives, but to be thankful for everything that happens to us good or bad, the successes and the failures are opportunities that put us to the test in our spiritual growth and in our union with Christ”.
We will never be at peace while we shrink before every problem or any situation that frightens us and takes away our spiritual tranquility.  Gratitude and the prayer of Thanksgiving to the Lord can completely change our attitude toward life.
A lady suffering from a deep depression said that one day it occurred to her to find one single thing to be thankful for and realized upon waking up that she could walk, and she could breathe.  In that moment she felt a great joy and the only thing she could say was:  “Thank you, Lord, for life, thank you – thank you very much, Lord!”  And I would also add thank you, Lord, for the Eucharist, your body among us.
Today I invite you when you gather with your family to remember to give thanks to the Lord for living in a free country, for health, family, friends, work, and faith.  Write these down and give one to each person who is sharing your meal to recite at the moment of saying grace.
Happy Thanksgiving!