November 23, 2023 (US Thanksgiving Day)
by Susan Naatz
Creighton University's Mission and Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thanksgiving Day in the United States
Lectionary: 943-947

Sirach 50:22-24
Psalms 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Luke 17:11-19

Praying Ordinary Time

For those celebrating Thursday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Prayer in the days before Advent

Happy and blessed Thanksgiving!  May this day bring countless reminders of God’s generous love.

Not long ago, I gave a gift to one of our grandchildren.  He jumped up, ran to me, and while hugging me proclaimed I love it!  Thank you, Mimi!    His exuberance went straight to my heart and rang in my ears for hours as I replayed it over and over again. When someone expresses gratitude to us, there is an experience of shared joy. Both the giver and the receiver find great pleasure and contentment.

Jesus was no different.  He cured ten people of leprosy in today’s gospel but only one came back to thank him.  He asked the person who came back where the others had gone and said, ten were cleansed were they not? Where are the other nine?  Jesus was in all likelihood hurt and troubled that they had not shown their gratitude for his tremendous gift.  He was not provided an opportunity to share their joy. Jesus teaches us a great lesson in this gospel.  Gratitude is one of the deepest relational values we can practice.

St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society of Jesus, had a lifelong commitment to the value of gratitude.  Fr. Charles Shelton S.J. writes:  Although a number of Christian saints…wrote about the virtues of gratitude, it is Ignatius of Loyola who made gratitude the core of his approach to God.  Ignatian spirituality is grounded in intense gratitude and reverence.  It begins with and continually reverts to the awareness of the presence and power and care of God everywhere, for everyone, and at all times. 1. 

One of my Jesuit friends talks about gratitude and gift-giving.   He believes that a gift expresses as much about the giver as it does about the receiver.  When we have an important relationship, we desire to give them a meaningful (not necessarily expensive!) gift.  Our gift to someone we love informs them of our care for them.  It also speaks about our love for and knowledge of them.  Most importantly, we demonstrate our gratitude that they are part of our life.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, may we be mindful that giving thanks to and for others is a great gift.  Jesus and St. Ignatius remind us that gratitude feeds our soul and pours love into our world.  I propose that we conscientiously allow our gratitude for all people and things to flow into our lives and relationships.  Not just today but all days.                                                         

1. The Gratitude Factor:  Enhancing Your Life through Grateful Living by Charles M. Shelton, PhD. Paulist Press.

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