Pastor's Corner 111812

posted Nov 13, 2012, 9:50 AM by Music Director

We pause at this time of year to celebrate one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving.  Thanks in part to the efforts of retailers and other merchants, this wonderful feast sometimes, sadly, gets lost in the anticipation of Christmas. But Thanksgiving is not a prelude to our celebration of the birth of Jesus! 

Even in the secular age in which we live, Thanksgiving has miraculously lost little if any of its meaning.  I suppose that’s at least partly due to the commercialization of Christmas which overwhelms all other holidays.  I also know of only one other nation on earth (Canada) that sets aside one day each year to thank our Creator for all the blessings of life in this beautiful, though in many ways and places troubled, world.  That says something about how great this country really is: that we haven’t completely forgotten the One who has given us so much. 

I love Thanksgiving for its emphasis on family and neighbors gathered together without the stress that is unfortunately associated with other holidays.  Most if not all of us look forward to the big meal, and what’s not to like about that?  But isn’t it wonderful how we’ve become so much more sensitive to those who are alone in the world or separated from their loved ones, like the men and women of our armed forces serving far from home; and those closer to home who are impoverished and in need of help?  I am so moved by the great lengths people go to ensure that as many of our fellow Americans as possible experience the joy of the holiday; that everyone might have something for which to be thankful.  This is especially noteworthy as we try to tend to the needs of our many neighbors who are still suffering the effects of Superstorm Sandy. 

I am proud and thankful to be part of a parish that has worked so hard to collect and distribute food and other aid to the needy around us, not just at this time but throughout the year. I particularly commend our St. Vincent de Paul Society, the children and families of our Religious Education program and those who attend Our Lady of Hope Regional and our area Catholic High Schools, and our local Scout troops.  Their work at helping the needy around us is nothing short of inspiring.

Other Thanksgiving traditions I truly love are the parades (especially the gigantic helium-filled balloon characters) and, of course, football, from the local high school to colleges, to the pros (though I repeat my decades-long plea, could we please see some teams other than the dreadful Cowboys and Lions??!!)

But the tradition I love the best is how we Catholic Christians start the holiday: by gathering around the table of the Lord with each other, our “faith family,” for the first Christian form of thanksgiving, the Eucharist. (Did you know that the word is derived from the Greek that means, literally, “to give thanks”). 

What do you love about Thanksgiving?  Whatever it is, be sure to express and celebrate it at our morning Masses.  Give thanks to the One who made it all possible: the Giver of life, and all that life offers; the Giver of the bounty of our tables, our nation, and our world that nurtures and sustains us; the Giver of Jesus, our Lord, Savior and Brother, who leads us to everlasting thanksgiving with Mary and all the saints at the banquet of eternal life; the Giver of our families and friends, of all that we have and are.

Come, ye thankful people, come!  Raise the song of harvest home!”  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone; and may God bless you all for the blessing you are to others! 

 

With gratitude for all that you are and do,

And, as always, in His Love,

 

Fr. Mike

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