Right before we begin our Eucharistic Prayer, our prayer of thanksgiving, our prayer that is at the very heart of our celebration, we say a prayer called the preface, it is a prelude into the very heart of our Mass. The priest prays, ‘It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation always and everywhere to give you thanks Lord Holy Father Almighty and Eternal God.
These words call us to an attitude of gratitude toward God our Father/Mother, our attitude of gratitude toward Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave his life for us, our attitude of gratitude toward the Holy Spirit who was poured into our hearts giving us the boldness to call God, father/mother.
This attitude of gratitude is not just for this Thanksgiving weekend, ideally, this attitude of gratitude is our daily mindset from when we get up in the morning till we end our day. St. Paul tells us, ‘always be thankful’. Thank God I can walk, thank God I can see, thank God I can speak and hear. Thank God I still have my wits about me. Thank God for my family and friends, thank God I have a job, thank God, thank God, thank God.
When we see the sufferings of the men, women and children of Aleppo, the hardships of the millions of people in refugee camps, we know we are blessed, even if we are struggling to make ends meet and cope with our own worries. When we hear of the economic or political oppression of peoples in other lands we know, even if we are financially stressed ourselves, we know we are blessed.
I read a novel titled, ‘A Complicated Kindness’, it’s the story of a young girl growing up in the prairies. She belonged to a strict Mennonite church. Her family life was totally dysfunctional, her mother and her older sister just took off to escape the oppression under which they lived. This young woman made her escape through drugs and booze, and sleeping around. In telling her of her crazy mixed up life she made an interesting statement. She said, ‘my life has been an embarrassment of blessings.’ I had to read those words a couple of times to see if I was reading correctly. My life has been an embarrassment of blessings.
Each one of us here, looking over our lives, considering the life situations of most of the world’s population, must surely say, ’my life is an embarrassment of blessings.
We’re here at this Mass, as we are at every Mass, not to beg, not to ask for favors, though we may be doing just that, but first and foremost we are here to give thanks. Thanks to the Father Who sent his son into the world, not to condemn the world but to save it. Thanks to Jesus, the son of Mary, for suffering and dying on the cross so that through his wounds we be healed. Thanks to the Holy Spirit who makes us holy and keeps us faithful.
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere, to give you thanks, Lord Holy Father. As we continue to celebrate this Mass, giving thanks for the blessings of our lives, may we all be blessed with an attitude of gratitude.
May we be blessed with a happy and safe Thanksgiving weekend.