Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Called to Fellowship

November 25, 2010
Thanksgiving Day

And now, bless the God of all, who has done wondrous things on earth; Who fosters men's growth from their mother's womb, and fashions them according to his will! May he grant you joy of heart and may peace abide among you. Sirach 50:22-23

I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:4-7

And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” Luke 17:15-19

By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Today’s Gospel always has special significance for me because it was the reading at the closing Mass on my Cursillo Weekend. In fact, we even had ten candidates to go along with the reading. How cleverly planned Holy Spirit!

“Your faith has saved you.” This is a phrase we hear uttered by Jesus regularly in the Good News in addition to his comments about the lack of faith among the people in Israel. He also said this to the woman who bathed his feet in perfume. Yet the people he encounters when making comments about faith are not people who he meets in the temple. They are people who are doing something. The leper returns to Jesus to give thanks. The woman bathes his feet in perfume.

Faith compels them to action. Their encounter with Jesus changed them and they acted differently than they had before Jesus was a part of their life. Maybe they are the first Cursillistas.

Action does not always mean we have to engage in some kind of social work for the betterment of society. Action includes the simple deed of freely giving thanks. We all like to be recognized for what we do.

Saying “thank you” can seem like simple words. Yet think of the implications when we do not say give thanks. Imagine how the worker feels who puts in extra time on a project and the boss takes all the credit. Think of a time when your contributions were overlooked.

Jesus did not heal and bless people so that they would come back to him with thanks. The Lord was not into a “quid pro quo” relationship. He gave freely and expects us to do the same. Our faith is not strengthened because we have been blessed. Many will freely give thanks today and always who have been blessed with a lot less than we have received in life.

Through Him, we are called to fellowship with the Lord who gave freely. We are also called to fellowship with our sisters and brothers and must pass on that spirit of giving thanks freely so that they may do likewise.

Let us remember to give thanks today and every day to the God from whom all blessing flow. Let us not need a presidential proclamation or national holiday to do so. Although it is nice to know that since President Lincoln did it first in 1863, we have been doing so. Hopefully, we will continue for at least another 147 years.