Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Giving Thanks

Dear Parishioners,

With Thanksgiving approaching, I think it is always a good practice to take the time to say “thanks” to God for the many gifts and blessings that we have in life.

First of all, I thank God for what He has done in my life. I thank Him for the gift of life itself, for health, for family, and for the gift of the ministerial priesthood. I also give special thanks for you, my parishioners, whom I have the privilege of serving in St. Thomas More Parish

For almost 20 years, my family has joined me for Thanksgiving dinner at whatever rectory where I have resided as pastor. This year, however, there will be an exception. We will be celebrating both Thanksgiving and my mom’s 90th birthday at my brother's home. My brother asked that the annual dinner be moved to his house and I was glad to accommodate his request. This year someone else will have the job of cooking for 25-30 people!   

I think that there is no better way to give “thanks” to God than by joining together for the Eucharist—the most perfect offering, the most perfect prayer of thanksgiving to God. What a privilege to receive the precious Body and Blood of Jesus our Savior! We remember Him at every Mass when He took ordinary bread and wine and changed these elements into the inestimable gift of Himself for us! Please make it a priority to join our parish family each week around the altar to give thanks. Please join us for Mass on Thanksgiving Day (9 AM) as well!

The 1st Sunday of Advent begins on December 3rd and the new liturgical year commences. While the Christmas season does not actually begin until Christmas eve, we are unfortunately driven by the consumer mentality that starts selling Christmas items as early as late summer. By the time Christmas arrives, people are ready to take down decorations when the actual Christmas season is really just beginning. Incidentally, the Christmas season ends on January 8th with the Baptism of the Lord.

In conclusion, it is a good practice to take an inventory of the things in our lives that we might take for granted or fail to fully appreciate each day. A statement that I heard quite some time ago seems to put things into proper perspective: “I used to complain about the shoes I wore until I met the man with no feet.”
  • Am I thankful for that fact that I am alive?
Aborted babies never had that opportunity.
  •  Do I thank God every day for my health?
The hospitalized and homebound might long for days without pain and the ability to get out of bed.
  • Do I take my faith for granted?
There are places in the world where people suffer and die for being a Christian.
  • Do I go to bed each night with a roof over my head and a full stomach?
The homeless and those in line at the soup kitchen are probably envious.
  • Do I have a family with whom to spend the holidays?
The orphan, widow / widower, soldier in a foreign land, or prisoner might not have such good fortune.
  • If I can read and understand what this reflection is all about, am I truly grateful?
The blind, the mentally ill, a person with Alzheimer’s, or simply an illiterate person might not be able to do what you are doing right now.

Need I say any more? Please give thanks. 

On behalf of the priests, sisters and staff, have a happy, blessed Thanksgiving with your families!

Fr. Ed Namiotka

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