Pastor's Corner 112413

posted Nov 27, 2013, 8:28 AM by Music Director   [ updated Nov 27, 2013, 8:30 AM ]

We have reached the conclusion of the liturgical season of Ordinary Timeso on this last Sunday of the season we proclaim Jesus Christ our King.  Next Sunday, we will inaugurate a new liturgical year as we begin the joyful season of Advent, in anticipation of the even more joyful season of Christmas

But before we get too caught up in this, we pause at this time of year to celebrate one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving.  Sometimes this wonderful feast gets lost in the anticipation of Christmas, but Thanksgiving is so much more than 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 fact that it’s much less commercialized than other holidays, and what’s not to love about that? (Not for lack of trying, though…Hallmark card, anyone?)  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 because it’s all about family and friends gathered together without the stress that is unfortunately associated with other holidays.  Most if not all of us look forward to the big meal.  But isn’t it wonderful how we’ve become 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, and others 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 and have something for which to be thankful.  In this, I particularly commend our St. Vincent de Paul Society, local Scout groups, and the children and families of our Religious Education program and those who attend Our Lady of Hope Regional and our Catholic High Schools.  Their work at gathering so much food for 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 games to the pros (though could we please see some teams other than the 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 (a word 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 Mass.  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 and our world that nurtures and sustains us; the Giver of Jesus, our Lord, Savior and brother, who leads us to everlasting thanksgiving 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!

Let’s go Eagles!

(And Flyers and Sixers, too!)

In His Love,

Fr. Mike