400 years ago in 1621, a small number of grateful pilgrims assembled in prayer to thank God for an abundant harvest. Their thanks was a testimony of their belief that God looked with favor on their quest for a land where the blessings of freedom flow. In that humble setting, the true meaning of Thanksgiving was born. That occasion marked the beginning of “THANKSGIVING DAY”.
Today, America is free and strong – a monument to the hopes and dreams and ideals of the pilgrims. America represents a people whose progress has been blessed by God, and whose history is rich with evidence of His power and glory. We have emerged from wars; our scientific achievements stagger the imagination; our standard of living surpasses most other nations.
Truly the mercy and goodness of God has been with us; but much of the time, we take God’s blessings for granted: blessings that are only dreams for people living in other countries.
We have so much to be thankful for; for health, for life, for faith, for family and good friends who have come into our lives, for our parents who gave us life, for being a citizen of America – where we are free, for being part of this Basilica Parish, for dreams that have come true in our lives, and for dreams which have not come true – teaching us that God’s will and not our own is what is best for us, for the blessings of God’s love and grace which have lifted us from the darkness of sin and death – to the bright light and hope of new life.
Often, we often forget to be thankful! So we need this day to pause and remember! And put aside the work – to give thanks for all that has been done by all those who have gone before us to bring us to this time and place in history. We need this day to spend time with family and good friends.
Saint Paul tells us to dedicate ourselves to “THANKFULNESS AND PRAISE”. He tells us to give thanks to the Father through Jesus Christ and that is what we are doing in this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. As we reflect on what we as individuals and as a Parish community have to be thankful for, on this THANKSGIVING DAY, we need to remember that despite all the terrorist attacks; despite all the natural disasters; despite the wars in the Middle East; despite the ridiculous fighting in Washing; despite the virus sickness, unemployment, and all the other things that affect us, we need to give thanks to God for His love for us and for the Sacrifice of His Son on the altar of the Cross.
This THANKSGIVING, may St. Paul’s words become a reality in all the homes of our Parish:
“May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts. Show yourselves thankful.
Whatever you do in word or in action, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
A blessed and happy Thanksgiving to each one of you!