This weekend we heard from Proverbs the value of a loving wife. The Psalm reminds us of how blessed we are with our children. Thessalonians reminds us that we are children of the light, not darkness. In the Gospel of Matthew, we heard that the one who stewards well the talents they have been given will enter into our Master’s joy. In all these things, what is our response?
It could be one of worry for all the times we have fallen short of God’s standard. Maybe it is one of regret for the times we have taken our spouse for granted and are guilty of not being as loving as we should be. It could be one of fear, for we may realize that, too often, we have been anything but sober and alert. It could be of sadness for we may have squandered parts of our lives with the talents our Lord has given us. These concerns are worthy of consideration. They are all worthy of reflection as an action of examining our consciences in light of the Scriptures. There may even be true reasons for concern about our state of relationship with God and our neighbor. I think we should all take these challenges seriously. But, I would also like to remind us that this is half of the story.
The other half of the story revolves not around how we have failed, but what God has done for us, how our Lord is always there waiting to restore us back to him. I would like to propose that given all our challenges in our lives, we have plenty of reasons for joy and gratitude not despite our failures and sufferings, but through them. God sent his Son who suffered death for us and rose so that our sufferings would not have the final say. Through Jesus’ Paschal Mystery, our Lord can bring grace and restoration when we join our suffering and dying to his, because the other half of the story, the reason Jesus came, was to save us.
In just a few short days, we as a nation will celebrate Thanksgiving Day. I would like to invite you all to Mass on that day (8 AM). Between now and then, ponder on where you have fallen short, repent and as our Lord to forgive you, and then give thanks for his goodness. On the Mass of Thanksgiving Day, as is my little custom, I turn the homily time towards an opportunity for all present to express, publicly, what they are grateful for. We must not keep our praise and thanksgiving to ourself. We must express our gratitude for all that God has given us. So, between now and then, consider all that God has gifted you with. Come to that Mass, lay down your burdens, offer your sacrifice, and exchange it for gratitude. We are a Eucharistic people the word, “eucharist,” meaning “thanksgiving.”
May we all give praise and thanksgiving all the days of our lives.
Fr. William Holtinger