Miguel Agustin Pro, Memorial
Psalms 149:1-6, 9
God entrusts the future of the world to the Lamb “…You are worthy to take the scroll and to break its seals, because you were sacrificed, and with your blood you bought people for God of every race, language, people and nation and made them a line of kings and priests for God, to rule the world.”
Song of Triumph “…The faithful exult in glory, shout for joy as they worship him, praising God to the heights with their voices...”
Lament for Jerusalem “…they will not leave one stone standing on another within you, because you did not recognize the moment of your visitation.”
We celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States today. Our annual tradition brings family and friends together to the table; some will travel great distances to be with loved ones for the holidays. We come together to dine, to relax and to spend time with each other. We thank the Lord in a particular way for the blessings bestowed on us as we break bread together. Our tradition of gathering together at the table began when this country’s ancestors of the early 1620’s celebrated their survival through the winter at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Native American people had shared their food and taught our ancestors how to grow, cultivate and store corn and other native vegetables. It was a year of plenty and they paused to gather and thank the Lord for His many blessings
On this Thanksgiving, as we remember the beginning of this country’s heritage and their strong reliance on and gratitude to our Maker, the Church reminds us to look at that most basic connection we humans have with God, the Almighty One, and His Son, Jesus the Pure and slaughtered Lamb. In the first reading in Revelations 5, John describes his vision of God enthroned in his Glory, surrounded by elders and angels and other living creatures all praising and worshipping Him. In his right hand God holds a scroll, and we are told, only the Lamb of God, Jesus is worthy to open and reveal its contents. Place your trust in the One whom God finds worthy to open the scroll. Despite this Book’s vivid and hard to believe images, the overall message from Revelations, is one of hope and consolation, for those who have fidelity to Christ the victor over sin and death.
In the Gospel reading we find Jesus about to enter Jerusalem and we feel the sorrow in his words. Luke (19:41,42), “As he drew near and came in sight of the city he shed tears over it and said, ‘If you too had only recognized on this day the way to peace! But in fact it is hidden from your eyes!” Later on he says they did not recognize the “moment of your visitation.” Do we recognize Jesus’ visitation in our lives? The early pilgrims including their leaders (George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, to name two) did. In their Thanksgiving Proclamations these men recognized God’s hand as being responsible for their nation’s well-being. They were led to praise God whom they called Lord and the Almighty One in a very public way. Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated continuously as a nation since 1863 with Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation. These leaders included a call to the people to repent from their transgressions to a merciful God. The look back to this country’s beginning, finds its people, including the early leaders a nation who read God’s Word; they were obviously a people who knew God.
We see this reminder in our readings today. A call to recognize God’s hand in our daily experience. A call to rely on Him, for even the smallest of matters, for God wills this close relationship. Just as the early settlers could not make it rain to grow their crops, and had to rely on God, we too have the need to be this reliant on God’s hand in our lives today. Let us not grow so independent that we are unable to make this connection. Let us recognize again the Faith of the early pilgrims and like them, place our Trust completely in God as we continue to know and understand His will in our lives in this 21st century. Let us remember from whence we’ve come. Ask God to help you prioritize your daily schedule, to allow time with Him, in prayer and in His Word.
This Thanksgiving Day, in the year 2000, I am also reminded of the words the visionary from Australia, Matthew Kelly, said during his visit here to St. John’s Church on the Creighton campus, “Joy is the fruit of appreciation.” Let us be a grateful people, and ask God to continuously remind us of the many reasons we have to be appreciative; for with appreciation comes JOY.
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