Today is the FEAST OF JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE.
This feast ends our liturgical year, the cycle of Sundays and holidays that celebrate the Good News of our Salvation. We have walked with the evangelist, Luke. Next Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, we begin a new year with Matthew.
Risking the cliché chasm, we hear that the Word of God is ‘living and active.’ (Hebrews 4:12). For me it means that no matter how many times I may have heard this or that Scripture passage, it always has the possibility of new insights. This year it’s Matthew’s turn to offer us new discoveries and rediscoveries.
As the saying goes, “Man proposes, God disposes.” With Hurricane Nicole aiming at us last week, I ‘proposed’ closing up for two days, only to wake up and find that God had ‘disposed’ of Nicole in another venue. The sun was shining on our closed sanctuary. And of course, at that point, there was no way to say we’ll have Mass after all.
Moving on, Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving. Our civil holiday has always been rooted in an attitude of thanks that ultimately finds its way to God.
For example, On October 3, 1789, George Washington issued the proclamation, “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me ‘to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.’”
“Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be — That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks —...”
The leaders of our country “proposed” giving thanks. I’m very much convinced that God was (and is) “disposed” to receiving that thanks.
WE WILL CELEBRATE A SPECIAL MASS OF THNKSGIVING on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. I’d like to make a suggestion. Normally, we don’t have a collection at our Thanksgiving Mass. In the next few days would you sit down and jot on a piece of paper some of the things for which you are thankful. We will make the collection of your various lists our offering for the Mass.
Many things are on my list. One of the biggest ones is my gratitude for all of you. Young and old (whoops... I mean ‘mature’,) I think we do a good job of providing each other with an environment of peace and joy, wisdom and patience, hospitality and hope, in fact, an environment of holiness, despite our faults.
I feel as though I’m standing on the edge of a chasm of clichés into which I could so easily fall, but I’m going to take the chance anyway and simply say that the “attitude of gratitude” is what we people of the Eucharist must always be about.
We don’t need a civil proclamation to make us grateful. Every time we come to the altar, we are a people of thanks. And yet having something that re¬minds us of who we are isn’t a bad thing at all. Sometimes, we take our blessings for granted; at least I do.
“Ad Venio.” Advent. We are “Coming to...”
As we anticipate celebrating the Lord’s Coming, may we encourage each other.