“In the morning, we will be serving at the Salvation Army.” This is a portion of the response made by one of our parish families, when I recently asked them about their Thanksgiving Day plans. The mom went on to say that their children would be working more “behind the scenes” than on the actual serving line, in order to protect the dignity of those they might recognize as their peers from school, having their Thanksgiving meal there.
Certainly, I commend this family for their sensitivity to the dignity of our brothers and sisters. Yet, it is ultimately my hope that anyone who finds themselves turning to Salvation Army—or Meals Together or People to People or Wooster Hope Center or the Society of St. Vincent de Paul or any other ministry of outreach in our community— will come to know that they, ultimately, minister to us by their need. Their need serves our need—to follow the command of Christ to feed the poor, clothe the naked, interact with the lonely and the imprisoned.
There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread. These words come to us from St. Theresa of Calcutta. When one considers the scale of the hunger for bread in our world, it suggests that the ultimate famine is a famine of authentic love and acknowledgment. Perhaps, we have heard the rhetorical question: “What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday? It is a rather sobering thought. I even came across a version of it that added: “You’d probably be alone and naked!” My only reservation with this kernel is that we do not want to project God as just waiting to take things away from us. It surely captures the reality that without knowing God as the source of all good, we are doomed to live vacuous lives.
As always, we will gather for morning Mass on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23, at 9 a.m. This Eucharistic celebration is consistently a high point for me—the spirit of gratitude is always so palpable! Once again, you are encouraged to bring to church that day, some nonperishable food item, or alternately a monetary donation, which will be directed to the pantry at People to People.
Whatever your plans for Thanksgiving, may you experience a heart of superabundant gratitude!