November is the time of the year when our nation, one of the richest and powerful in the world, takes the time to celebrate Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday. It is a unique event that brings us to recall the first pilgrims who gave thanks for the bountiful harvest they received from God and shared with the native Americans, who also brought food to the common table. In the course of time, it has become an annual celebration designated on the fourth Thursday in November.
On this day we focus on our blessings and give thanks to God. It is an attitude of the heart to express our gratitude, which they say is the mother of all virtues that realizes and recognizes how blessed we are. It leads family members to come to the table to enjoy a meal and hopefully share prayer. Unfortunately, seldom do I hear that families gather these days or that they make prayer a part of the celebration, or make it a time when people go to church to attend holy Mass.
It seems we have become indifferent and now take for granted the blessings we have received and enjoy in life. This Thanksgiving, I invite you to reflect on our Christian attitude, and to renew our faith in God, the source of all our blessings. Our diocese is blessed to have launched a Eucharistic Revival to focus our hearts and minds on the Holy Eucharist, the summit of our Christian life and worship. The word Eucharist comes from the Greek word “eukharistia,” which means thanksgiving. Whenever we attend Mass, we come together to thank God for the many blessings he has bestowed on us. We also experience and encounter the greatest gift of all, the living presence of God in the bread and wine that are substantially transformed into the real Body and Blood, the soul and divinity of Christ.
Over these past years, we have been through many hardships and continue to face challenges. Regardless of the suffering we all experience, let us take time this Thanksgiving to count our blessings, for God never abandons us. Thanksgiving Day is a blessed moment not only to celebrate a national holiday but for us to recapture our understanding of the Holy Eucharist, express our awe and gratitude in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and also to foster our devotion to this Divine Sacrament of our unity and salvation. For Catholics, the holy Mass is the most beautiful and profound way to say “thank you” to God not only with sincere faith, but with humble and grateful hearts.
Please know how grateful I am to be the bishop of our diocese and shepherd of the people of God in Utah. Let us join together thanking God with grateful hearts and in words and deeds, not only on Sundays, but every day of our lives.
Have a safe, happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day with your family and those you love.