Thursday, November 22, 2012

One of Them Returned

One of Them Returned

November 22, 2012
Thanksgiving Day
And now, bless the God of all, who has done wondrous things on earth; Who fosters people'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; May his goodness toward us endure in Israel to deliver us in our days.  Sirach 50:22-24
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


Not in the time of pleasure
Hope doth set her bow;
But in the sky of sorrow,
Over the vale of woe.
Through gloom and shadow look we
On beyond the years!
The soul would have no rainbow
Had the eyes no tears.
John Vance Cheney (1848-1922)


Today has both a spiritual and civil/historical significance in our lives.  Not only do we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday but we also remember the life of our 35th president who was assassinated on this date 49 years ago.
In the United States, our modern Thanksgiving holiday traditions are traced to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth in what is now Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest and was attended by both the newcomers from England and the Native "Americans" in these new colonies.    As our first President, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God."
In 1941, while the world was in the midst of a war which would soon engulf the U.S. with the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the national Thanksgiving Day from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday.  Just like JFK did not realize his date with destiny in Dallas, little did FDR know then nor do we know now, the "vale of woe" that may be ahead.  Yet, despite these travails, we remain, a thankful and hopeful people.  


We still have brothers and sisters fighting in Afghanistan while the latest fragile peace settles into the Middle East lands where our Savior was born and lived.
We still have sisters and brothers fighting hunger and homeless, illness and injury, addiction and affliction and "affluenza."
We still have brothers and sisters victimized by senseless acts of violence.  Some may even (we hope NOT!) be injured today and tomorrow in the crush to start the Christmas shopping season.
We still have sisters and brothers recovering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy from New York and New Jersey down south as far as Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba as the winter season and cold approaches.
We can enumerate many of the woes that creep in upon our lives every day - be they economic, physical, political or social.
Yet, we remain a people of faith, hope and love.  And for these and all our gifts tangible and intangible -- physical and spiritual, we offer our thanks and commit ourselves to sharing with others by opening our hearts and homes to others with the YES of our Annunciation.   
May we all realize that we have been healed and return with our Song of Thanksgiving like the tenth leper.

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