Thursday, November 23, 2017

(for Thursday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time see below)

Thanksgiving Day

(Sirach 50:22-24; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Luke 17:11-19)

Huntington’s Disease is one of the worst maladies known in medicine.  It attacks the brain leaving bearers of the disease physically and mentally incapacitated.  In listening to testimonies of Huntington Disease sufferers, one is surprised to hear some describing themselves as “blessed.”  It is not a universal claim, but it is heard from different patients.  People have been good to them and they have experienced something of the sweetness of life.

On Thanksgiving Day most people likewise sense that they are blessed.  There is time to reflect on all that they have and are.  They can name some of those who provided them education and opportunity, but they realize that the list cannot be exhausted.  Indeed, most get an inkling that the blessing has been bestowed from on high.  We know this elusive, benign benefactor as the Lord God who made us and sustains us.

The Samaritan in today’s gospel has a true insight into the extent of God’s blessing.  After being cured of his leprosy, he goes to thank Jesus.  He might have followed his nine companions to the Temple.  There he would have paid homage to God as well as have received the confirmation of healing from the priests.  But the Samaritan realized that Jesus had something fundamental to do with his fortune.  And so should we!  God has not only blessed us with human life; through His Son Jesus Christ He has granted us a share in His eternal life.  We experience a foretaste of this new life when we come together for the Eucharist.  We also receive a sense of eternal life as we gather with family and friends around the Thanksgiving table.

Thursday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

(I Maccabees 215-29; Lucas 19:41-44)

A proverb says, “The old man who will not cry is a fool.”  Everyone should come to tears as she or he realizes that life is often tragic because people fail to learn its most important lesson.  The lesson is to give glory to God by caring for one another.  Too often humans take life as a game in which they are to gain as much prestige and prosperity for themselves as possible.

In the passion account of Luke’s gospel, Jesus tells the women of Jerusalem that they are not to weep for him but for their children.  In today’s passage he does exactly this.  Jerusalem refuses to learn life’s lesson taught in the Law, reiterated by the prophets, and confirmed by Jesus himself.  Its inhabitants would rather retain its values of wealth and honor.  Although Jesus is hardly an old man, in his day at thirty-three years he has already entered middle age.  In any case he shows himself as wiser than the ages with his tears.

Should we cry at what we see around us?  There is, for sure, enough egotism about to make even children weep.  After we shed our tears we should resolve to live lives worthy of the gospel.  That is, we should amend our ways by placing the good of others alongside our own and by praying that God turn the situation around.