Fr. Neil Bakker
This week we contemplate giving thanks. I have so many things for which to be thankful and, if I really put aside the time necessary to thank the Lord for all His gifts to me, it would be a full-time job.
A habit of thankfulness is one of the best virtues we can cultivate. It helps us keep disappointment in perspective and moves us into a positive state of mind. It also helps keep us humble, reminding us of the origin of all good things - God.
It is important for us to remember that gratitude should lead us to feeling humbled, privileged by what has been given, but not necessarily indebted to another. Being thankful for some gift might spontaneously lead to a desire to reciprocate. But, if it proves a constant back-and-forth of one person helping another and the other repaying and maybe even going beyond repayment, then it is just a game of favors.
God wants to bless us abundantly and asks for nothing in return. What could we do for God that would repay what He has given us? Nothing. But there was One who did repay to God all He has done for us - Jesus. Our Lord, in His supreme act on the cross, repaid our debt, recovered us from that dreadful state and oﬀered a thanksgiving to God beyond comparison. Each of us enter into that giving of thanks to God when we participate in the Eucharist. The Eucharist itself means thanks-giving.
When we come to the Mass, we worship, adore and give thanks to God for all He has done for us. Not by our own act of giving thanks, but by entering into Jesus’ action of giving thanks in the Eucharist - His very Body and Blood. The Mass is Jesus' work, not our own. He opens up that mysterious action done at Calvary for us all to individually be a part of.