This week we as a nation
celebrate Thanksgiving Day. As I sat down to write this week’s bulletin
article, my first thought was, “I wonder what the word ‘thanksgiving’ actually
means.” I found myself wondering what the dictionary would say about the word,
whether anyone (else) ever looks up its definition, or if we just assume we
know what it means?
According to Merriam Webster’s
Dictionary, thanksgiving means “the act of giving thanks”, “a prayer expressing
gratitude”, and “a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness”.
With these definitions, what I find interesting is that each recognizes that
giving thanks is not passive but requires action. Often we focus on what it is
for which we are thankful: food, shelter, health, family, etc. This year we may
want to consider our action of giving thanks. Rather than working on our list
of things to be thankful for, instead we should ask ourselves, “How do we give
thanks?” Is it by our prayers, publiclly acknowledging what we have been
given, and celebrating with a spirit of gratitude?
As we prepare to offer thanks,
we may want to consider two opportunities that we have this week to give
thanks. Wednesday evening the Hudson Area Ministerial Association will sponsor
its annual Thanksgiving Eve of Praise and Worship. We are honored to be the
host site for this year’s event on Wednesday, November 25, at 7:00 p.m.
Ministers from the various churches around Hudson will be involved in leading
the prayers and our own Fr. Patrick McConnell will preach. Music will be
provided by a combined choir from the area churches. This is one of my favorite
nights of the year because it is one of the only times that we gather as area
ministers and together lead worship. Our Council of Catholic Woman will provide
a pie social after the service in our parish hall. You may want to bring a food
donation for the food pantry or a monetary donation for Operation Help.
On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day,
we will celebrate Mass at 9:00 a.m. This is the second opportunity to gather,
publically acknowledge, and acclaim the divine goodness of God. While every
Eucharistic gathering is a celebration of thanksgiving to God, the joy of
Thanksgiving Day is that our prayers are joined with other Americans in giving
thanks. While someone recently told me that this is the day each year when more
food is consumed by Americans than any other day (Super Bowl Sunday is second),
it is also the day each year when more heads bow in gratitude than any other
Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day and if you travel we pray for your safe journey. Whether you will be in Hudson or far off, do reflect how you will best give thanks this year.
Fr. John GerrittsNovember 22, 2015