November 24, 2016
by Tamora Whitney
Creighton University's English Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thanksgiving Day
Lectionary: 943

Sirach 50:22-24
Psalms 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11
Luke 17:11-19

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Today is Thanksgiving, in the U.S. It’s a day we deliberately set aside for giving thanks. Families gather together, we get a long weekend from work. There’s a big family meal, and even if we don’t regularly say grace before meals, we say grace at Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving we’re thankful for food and family, for our work (and the long weekend off of work), for all our blessings.

Our readings today were chosen for Thanksgiving. They’re about all the Thanksgiving things – thanking God for our lives and the blessings we have, thanking God for all creation, for Jesus who saved us, for all the wonders of the world. Reading these passages makes me think about thankfulness and Thanksgiving, and especially makes me think that while it’s nice to set aside a day for thankfulness, and it’s really nice to get a long weekend and have a day that’s intended for families to get together and share a meal, shouldn’t every day be thanksgiving?

In the Gospel when Jesus heals the ten lepers, only one comes back to thank him. Granted, he told them to go show themselves to the priest, but as they went, they realized that they were healed. Only one came back to say thank you. Ten were healed. Where are the rest? Maybe they were waiting for Thanksgiving.

I love that we have Thanksgiving. I enjoy the day off school. I don’t eat turkey, but I enjoy the rest of the family meal. But I don’t think we should save up our thanks for one day a year. The Psalm says, “Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord.” In the second reading Paul says, “I give thanks to my God always on your account.” We should be giving thanks always and everywhere. When Jesus healed the lepers, only one thanked him. He says, “Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” We experience God’s glorious creation every day. Every day we experience Jesus’ healing and love. And every day we should be giving thanks. We should give thanks today on Thanksgiving. And we should give thanks tomorrow, because we will have just as much reason to be thankful.

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