11.24.22 Thanksgiving Day: Give Thanks!

Today’s homily is for Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2022, and the readings can be found by clicking here. The video of the homily is here.

Do you want to be happy? I mean truly filled with joy? Of course you do. Which of us doesn’t? You’ve seen people like that haven’t you? People who remain positive, hopeful, hope-filled no matter the situation! That joy is not only for a few, that is the joy that the Lord wills for all his children. Our destiny is superabundant joy in this life and life eternal. Do you want the recipe? Here it is; we just heard it in today’s Gospel. 

Ten lepers were cleansed, but only one returned. Scripture does not say where the other nine went, nor what they were doing, but there was one who returned. And what was he doing? He was “…glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.” He glorified God and gave thanks. If you want to live joyfully, glorify God just as loud as you can, and give thanks always. Live a life of gratitude. 

There is a scene in Harry Potter when at Christmas time Harry’s cousin, Dudley, received so many gifts, but he was angry and complained that there wasn’t enough. This is why many of  us are so unhappy. Too often we act like Dudley, spoiled rotten, surrounded with every good thing, but still wanting more. Of course we’re unhappy, we’re trying to satisfy the “more” our heart desires with stuff that will not only never satisfy, but will too often leave us feeling empty, sick, or broken. 

True joy starts with thanksgiving. It begins by thanking God all throughout our day for the blessings of life, children, grandchildren, food on our table, a job, a roof over our head. The leper did it in a loud voice. So should we! Make your faith known to all. St. Paul tells the Thessalonians, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks.” (5:16) That’s the key right there isn’t it? Give thanks in a loud voice. Pray all throughout the day. Rejoice always! 

This Thanksgiving as we gather with family and friends cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Give thanks to our Lord for the superabundant blessings He pours out upon us. Give thanks for family and friends. And make time in your gathering today for each person to share how the Lord has blessed them, healed them, or given them cause to rejoice this year. And then rejoice and give thanks together. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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